What the New USDA Rules for Healthier School Snacks Mean for Schools

Publication: Time

Author: Alexandra Sifferlin

06/28/2013 - "In a much anticipated ruling, the USDA announced that as soon as next year, schools across the country must provide snacks low in fat, sodium and salt in vending machines.

The federal agency’s standards were required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed in 2010, and limit vending machine snacks or 'competitive snacks' to 200 calories per item, and sodas and sports drinks sold in high schools to 60 calories or less in a 12-ounce serving. Elementary and middle schools can sell water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice and low-fat or fat-free milk."

"In September 2011, the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project’s health impact assessment (HIA) showed that improving national nutrition standards for snacks and drinks can have a positive effect on students’ weight, and that it benefits school budgets by increasing revenue for school food services. That study found that when unhealthy snacks are unavailable, students were more likely to purchase school meals.

'The school food environment has changed drastically since the standards were updated in 1979. Since then, we’ve seen many more opportunities for students to purchase foods outside of the regular meals, such as vending machines, a la carte lines, and school stores,' says Jessica Donze Black, project director for The Pew Charitable Trusts Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. 'During the same time, we saw childhood obesity rates triple, so revising the standards to reflect the most up-to-date nutrition science became imperative.'"

Read the full article, "What the New USDA Rules for Healthier School Snacks Mean for Schools," at the Time Magazine website.  

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