Health Impact Assessment: National Nutrition Standards for Snack and a la Carte Foods and Beverages Sold in Schools

Jun 26, 2012

The foods and beverages available in schools have a significant impact on children’s diets and weight, with many students consuming more than half of their daily calories at school. In addition to meals, nearly all students can buy foods and beverages at school, often from multiple locations, including cafeteria a la carte lines, vending machines, and school stores. These snacks and drinks are technically called “competitive foods” because they compete with school meals for students’ spending; however, they are also referred to as “snack and a la carte foods and beverages.”

Ensuring that schools sell nutritious foods is critical to improving children’s diets. This is one of the goals of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), passed in 2010, which directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold in schools during the school day by aligning them with the current dietary guidelines.

In an effort to inform USDA as it updates nutrition standards for foods and beverages that are sold outside of the school meal programs, and to better understand how standards might affect student health and school finances, the Kids’ Safe & Healthful Foods Project and the Health Impact Project, both collaborations of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, worked with Upstream Public Health, a nonprofit research and policy organization, to conduct a health impact assessment (HIA).

Click here to read the full report.
Click here to read Appendix 7: Summary of Literature of Nutrition Policy and/or Program Impacts.
Click here to view the Chart: The Snack and a la Carte Foods and Beverages Health Determinant Pathway.

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