Washington, DC —Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released updated nutrition standards for food and beverages sold in schools. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long championed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and has worked to ensure that the law promotes strong, evidence-based standards for all food and beverages sold in schools as it takes effect. The interim final rule released today marks the penultimate step before the standards take effect.
“Pediatricians commend USDA for taking a step forward today to make sure that all foods and beverages sold in schools, including snacks, are healthy for children,” said Thomas K. McInerny, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. “Many children eat up to half of their daily calories at school. Pediatricians would like to see those calories come from healthy foods that help children thrive. Good nutrition is critical to children’s health, development, and ability to learn and grow.”
Today’s regulation marks the first time in more than 30 years that the standards have been updated, and complements the current USDA standards for school meals that took effect this school year. Just as with the proposed rule, the AAP will analyze the interim final regulation and provide constructive feedback to USDA.
“Items sold in vending machines, cafeteria à la carte lines, school stores and snack bars are often low in nutrition and high in fat and calories,” said Dr. McInerny. “Providing children with nutritious food options in school will help reduce the alarming rates of childhood obesity and keep children healthy.”
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (www.aap.org