From Your Health Journal…..”A great story today on Yahoo! via Reuters about healthier school snacks. Schools in the United States will see new government rules targeting the kinds of snacks sold to students, a move many experts say could play an important role in fighting childhood obesity. As we have discussed so many times here, childhood obesity is reaching epidermic levels all over the world – with so many children showing risk factors for heart disease or type 2 diabetes (as well as other health concerns). Students are getting less physical activity, and eating unhealthy foods during the day, not to mention cutbacks in recess, physical education, and recreation programs. So now, it appears there may be some restrictions on candy bars, chips, and soda at schools across the US. The government does not want to get rid of all vending machines, just what is inside them. According to the USDA, vending machines are in just 13 percent of elementary schools for young children, but are in 67 percent of middle schools, where students are around 11 to 14 years old, and 85 percent of high schools. The USDA also found more than 80 percent of school districts have either restricted or banned sugary drinks. More than 75 percent also have some kind of limit or ban on snack foods. Please visit the Yahoo! site (link provided below) to read this very important article.”
From the article…..
After more than a year’s delay, American schools will soon see new U.S. government rules targeting the kinds of snacks sold to students, a move nutritionists say could play an important role in fighting childhood obesity.
Anxious schools have waited more than a year to find out how sales of potato chips, candy bars, sodas and similar treats to students will be restricted. These rules on food sold outside traditional cafeteria meals are a key part of the first major overhaul on school food in more than three decades.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently told Reuters that the rules on what snacks may be offered in vending machines, school stores and the like, originally due in late 2011, are expected to be finished in the early part of this year.
Officially, USDA said it expects the proposal by April, at which point a 60-day public comment period would kick in before final rules are issued – potentially for the next school year.
Vilsack said the delay was in part to give food and drink manufacturers, as well as schools, time to adjust to a revamp of cafeteria breakfasts and lunches in early 2012.
Those earlier sweeping changes, dictating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables on school menus, led to a few complaints and some hungry children. USDA later gave schools more flexibility on the new menus.
“The whole idea is that they eat more fruits and vegetables … that’s not going to happen overnight,” said Gail Koutroubas, who oversees food services for the public school district in Andover, Massachusetts, near Boston.
The school nutrition overhaul seeks to make a dent in the nation’s obesity epidemic at a time when government statistics show more than one-third of those younger than 18 are too heavy.
Health advocates want the snack changes to include smaller portions, reduced fat and less sugar. Acceptable drinks for most students would include low- or no-fat milks, 100 percent juices and water.
“We’re not saying get rid of the vending machines. Just change what’s in them,” said Margo Wootan, head of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group. “We, as parents, don’t want our kids eating candy bars and Gatorade for lunch.”