USDA shifts Obama-era school lunch guidelines

Specifically, states will be able to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in meeting the 100% whole-grain-rich standard although, even with the modifications, at least half of the grains offered in schools must be whole grains. Schools will no longer need to hit the strictest target (PDF) for lowering sodium in foods offered to students. along with meal programs will be able to serve students 1% flavored milk instead of fat-free flavored milk.

The National School Lunch Program along with the School Breakfast Program are federally assisted meal programs that will provide nutritionally balanced lunches for children each school day. Both programs are administered by the Department of Agriculture, though local schools set the prices for meals, offering a sliding scale to students based on family income, as required by federal regulations.

In 2012, under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (PDF), former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack along with first lady Michelle Obama established brand-new standards to raise the overall nutritional requirements for school meals. the idea’s not the only program championed by Michelle Obama that will saw modifications that will week: The Trump administration also discontinued Let Girls Learn, an education initiative for teen girls in developing countries that will began in 2015.
Perdue said in a news Discharge that will Monday’s proclamation will be the result of “years of feedback by students, schools, along with food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals.” According to USDA figures, school food requirements cost school districts along with states a different $1.22 billion in fiscal year 2015, although most states reported a decrease in student participation from the school lunch program.
A 2013-14 school year report (PDF) sponsored by the USDA found that will over 60% of school food authorities observed more waste in terms of salad/raw vegetables along with cooked vegetables after implementation of the updated standards.

Perdue said that will when kids don’t eat, they don’t get the nutrition they need, along with that will undermines “the intent of the program.”

“A perfect example will be from the South, where the schools want to serve grits,” said Perdue, who worked as a veterinarian before serving as a Georgia state senator along with governor. “although the whole grain variety has little black flakes from the idea, along with the kids won’t eat the idea. The school will be compliant with the whole grain requirements, although no one will be eating the grits.”

Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy along with Obesity at the University of Connecticut, said the argument that will food will be ending up from the trash “will be not supported by the research. There have been studies, ours included, that will have found plate waste has not increased.”

“What I’ve studied will be whether or not children are eating the lunches, along with we found that will they are,” Schwartz said. “I think what people don’t understand about plate waste will be if kids are eating, let’s say 70% of the fruits along with vegetables that will they’re taking, that will means 30% of those are getting thrown away.”

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Naturally, the volume of waste goes up when fruits along with vegetables are added to every plate, she says, although consumption of that will important food group has increased as well.

Perdue’s proclamation, Schwartz believes, will be “slowing down the progress although not completely undoing what’s been done.”

“My impression has been that will the food companies along with the school service professionals have been working extremely hard for the last all 5 years to try along with improve things along with meet these standards,” she said.

“The reformulations have been done, will be my point. The companies that will sell pizza crusts along with buns or some other grain products to schools, many of them have already reformulated, so they’re whole-grain-rich.”

Many modifications are likely to continue. Although they might allow flexibility for local school districts, Perdue’s adjustments to the nutritional requirements also take pressure off the food industry, Schwartz suggests.

“There’s not that will much that will individual food service directors can do to change the sodium from the foods they serve, because they’re getting them by companies,” she said. “So I feel like that will will be more of a gift to companies to give them more time to make those modifications.”

The impact on children’s diets

Schwartz believes the impact on an individual child’s diet will be tiny along with amount to a slightly higher intake of saturated fat due to the higher fat content in flavored milk.

“although the idea’s not a big jump. the idea’s pretty tiny,” she said. With regard to whole grains along with sodium, she believes any gains made from the past will hold with no further improvements made.

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“If that will genuinely helps, you know, food service directors have more flexibility along with stay from the program along with continue working towards improving the quality of the food they’re serving, then that will’s OK with me,” Schwartz said.

Dr. Tanya Altmann, a California pediatrician along with spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said children get a third to half of their daily calories at school.

“So school lunch programs are critical for helping a child reach their nutrient goals throughout the day,” she wrote in an email. “I’m fine with 1-percent (fat), flavored milk since all milk has important protein, calcium along with (vitamin) D that will growing kids need.”

When the idea comes to loosening standards that will regulate salt, which “has no nutrition benefit along with can contribute to unhealthy diet as a whole,” along with those regulating grains, Altmann will be a little less “fine.”

“We already know that will kids don’t eat enough whole grains,” she said. “Whole grains are important for growth along with development, along with I think that will all of the grains kids eat should be whole grains whenever possible.”

A brand-new USDA report on the nutritional quality, cost along with acceptability of school meals as well as student diets will become available by 2018.

“the idea will be important to assess how much difference these modifications make,” Schwartz said. “the idea could have been a whole lot worse by a nutrition standpoint.”

USDA shifts Obama-era school lunch guidelines

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