January 25th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
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School meals will have to offer fruits and vegetables to students every day under standards issued by the United States Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.

The meal programs, which feed about 32 million students in public and private schools, will have to reduce sodium, saturated fat and trans fats. Schools must also offer more whole grains as well as fat-free or low-fat milk varieties.

These standards go into effect July 1 and will be phased in over a three-year period, according to the USDA.

The new nutrition standards are largely based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, as part of efforts to curb childhood obesity. Recent numbers show that about 17% of children in the United States are obese.

Read the full story: "USDA issues new rules for school meals"

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Filed under: Childhood Obesity • Food Politics • News • School Lunch • Think • Video

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. diet pills

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    October 10, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
  2. Fahad

    Ouch – hope the rest of your day went beettr than the Cowboy/Bills game.In Toronto, oldest son must contend with the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) stores. Single provider Canadian health care is fine until one wants to self-medicate.

    February 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  3. Kumar

    I'm in the video and was on the field for this, I've never been more proud to be a Cyclone, btiaeng Iowa is great but it doesn't hold a candle to btiaeng the No. 2 ranked team. GO CYCLONES!?

    January 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  4. Min

    As a physical education major, I am aware of and far too familiar with the unhealthy statistics of adults, as well as, students in the U.S. Currently 17% of students are obese, 33% of students are overweight, and 31% of students are considered at risk for overweightness. Personally, and based on these statistics, I agree with Michelle Obama's interest in wanting childrent to eat healthier meals in schools.

    Some students may not get the recommended amount, let alone types of foods, at home, simply because their families cannot afford it. So, why not allow them to get what they need at school. Others do not eat healthy at home because they do not see their parents doing so or they are too lazy. So, why not expose these children to healthy selections at school, that hopefully will encourage them to eat better at home.

    I also agree with Dee's comment, which states, "Start exposing children to good foods early and they'll eventually get used to them". If students are exposed to healthy types of foods on a daily basis at school, and at a young age, they will grow to like them, which will allow students to live a healthier lifestyle. In return, maybe they will teach their parents, and other family members, good nutrition, so they can live a better lifestyle as well.

    In the end, I hope Michelle Obama and the USDA's efforts will encourage and teach students to eat healthier, create a better lifestyle for themselves, as well as, for their families, now and in the future, and we can eventually lower these unhealthy statistics to change the way Americans are viewed.

    January 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  5. tif31

    As a parent, I don't need the president's wife or my own mother to decide whether my kids are fat or unhealthy using Hollywood standards. Poor kids are overweight because the foods that go a long way are fattening! Potatoes, mac and cheese, chic nuggets, and most meals will contain potatoes like stew, baked pot.s, fried pot.s, because they are cheap! Concentrate on more jobs prez n family; NOT what poor are eating.
    This sounds so socialist...besides, isn't this profiling? What races are the majority of overweight kids? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

    January 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  6. Shawn L

    Are the feds increasing funding for the more expensive fruit, vegetable and whole grain requirements? $2.77 per fully paid meal, and this goes to cover the cost of food, staff, electricity, etc.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  7. Alisha

    At home, food can be taylored to the needs of the child. Making food that cators to the obese could have implications for average or slim children. My kids need every calorie they can get. Let's just say the doctor tells me pour gravy over their food and and give drink that will aide in weight gain. Guess that is the result of having kids who play hard and do multiple sports.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  8. Richie

    This is why we pack our kids lunches. This will only help the lazy parents.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Reality Cheque

      Unless, as Ruthie stated, the kids don't take the bait because lazy parents won't take the time to educate their kids.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • Alisha

        Let's just say I teach my own kids because traditional school is a money wasting, glorified, babysitting service. Cyber schools are far better than any school I've seen before. Great resources, new textbooks...and we can work at our own pace. Have breaks in the middle of the day to play..work spread out. We can work after dark instead of watching television kinda like family time. Hanging on every word..discussions on Science, Social Studies and Language arts.

        January 26, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
      • Shawn L

        That's nice... if you are a stay at home parent that knows how to teach every subject that their children will need and has the drive to make sure they do it every day. Most home schooling does more harm than good to kids as their parents do not have the ability or drive to take on the job.

        January 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  9. Reality Cheque

    The government isn't welcome in our homes or our lives to control what we and our children eat. So the next best thing they can do to try to help is to offer something in a venue they DO control: schools. They offer to re-vamp school lunches so that kids have the option of eating at least one healthy meal per day. Then they can pull a Pontius Pilate and wash their hand of the issue by saying, "Your children now have a healthy, lunch option available to them at school. It's your job as a responsible parent / guardian to get them to eat it."

    It's a sad state of affairs when the gov't is continuously called in to step up and be parents to children of people who feel that it's not their job to make their children #1.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Abby

      And it just perpetuates the problem. People take no responsibility for themselves, the government steps in and makes babysitting types of laws and ordinances, which in turn makes people take even less responsibility for themselves because they rely on the government, so the government steps in again for more babysitting laws and ordinances, etc. It's a downward spiral.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  10. Ruthie 1225

    It is all well and good to pass a law for better school nutrition, but a law is not going to make children eat food they are not familiar with. We throw away an appalling amount of food every single day. Kids who eat mostly tacos, pizza, chicken nuggets and hotdogs at home are simply do not eat meals consisting of stir fry vegetables, whole wheat chicken alfredo, fresh zuchini slices, honey barbeque brown rice, hummus, or a garden medley of spring vegetables. You can't get the little kids to even try these things, and the older kids don't even want to listen to you, They've started serving beautiful fresh fruits from a very good local grocery chain, and that sounds marvelous, but the reality is somewhat different. Our school corporation serves about 8000 meals every single day and no one, not the grocery store, not the commisary, not the individual school kitchens and their servers, no one has time to sort through 8000 pears to be sure they are all ripe and ready to eat. So kids often take one bite of something like a pear that is hard as a rock, screw up their face, and throw the whole pear away and never want to try it again.I bought a lunch myself a while back and my pear (a very beautiful red pear) had to sit on my desk for a week before it was fit to eat. Kids who have never had kiwi take one look at packaged kiwi slices and go "eeewww" and and throw it into the trash. Why they serve whole apples to kids with no front teeth is beyond me. We had fresh, fuzzy local peaches last fall. I can't even eat a fuzzy peach without pealing it so lots, and lots of peaches got thrown away. Besides, half the peaches were hard as a rock. We don't do much better with vegetables. Someone came up with the bright idea of sticks of jimcana a while back, and kids just weren't interested. They barely eat the fresh broccoli with dip which most of them have at least seen before.

    In addition to the problem of familiarity, our kids don't have enough time to eat their whole meal or even half the meal, and I suppose that's true of many school corporations. Our big kids and little kids are served the same size meal everyday, and little kids have very small tummies. They'll drink their milk right down because they are thirsty and be too filled up to care about the rest of the meal. They do like their bananas, but kids always want to eat a good looking dessert first and then they aren't hungry for the rest of the meal. One little guy refuses to drink juice because our juice is served in a bag, and he only likes juice out of a box. A little girl threw her entire taco lunch away today because they were served with corn chips to dip instead of hard corn shells. We had plain rice and black beans a while back. Our trash barrels were bulging full, but there were a lot of empty little stomachs that afternoon. Even most of the kids on free lunches know they can go home and load up on junk food.

    Yeah, kids might lose a little weight with our new menus, but it won't be because the food is healthier. It will be because they don't eat the lunches.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Dee

      You said "Kids who eat mostly tacos, pizza, chicken nuggets and hotdogs at home are simply do not eat meals consisting of stir fry vegetables, whole wheat chicken alfredo, fresh zuchini slices, honey barbeque brown rice, hummus, or a garden medley of spring vegetables. You can't get the little kids to even try these things, and the older kids don't even want to listen to you"

      I'm going to have to disagree with you there. I'm currently 23 years old so it hasn't been too long since I've been a kid. I of course had exposure to McDonalds and pizza and all of that stuff when I was younger and even though we didn't have that much money growing up, my family always had fruit and vegetables around and I was taught to give a food at least once chance before I judge whether or not its gross or weird. And guess what? All I wanted to do was eat fruits and vegetables. Both my parents worked and even though we couldn't afford fancy organic goods, we still were given a balance of food. McDonalds and pizza were only a once a week (at most) treat, usually on a weekend or if we were out of the house. I was a child who was brought up to enjoy grilled chicken over fried, brown rice, veggies and fruits galore...and that made me into the only kid at school who would prefer strawberries to a brownie. I was proud to be the only kid in my class who actually enjoyed broccoli and loved salads. If kids are given this type of stuff from the very beginning, they will get used to them. And I'm sorry but a can of black beans and some rice is a hell of a lot cheaper than a family meal at McDonalds and a lot more healthy. Start exposing children to good foods early and they'll eventually get used to them.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • tif31

      You tell it sister! Amen! Some common sense for a change.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  11. TRUTH

    Oh no! Say it ain't so! American kids in American public schools will have healthier choices!? And won't be fat and unhealthy by age 35!? Somebody stop this administration before they make our children exercise too! ....Good grief my fellow Americans, wake the fck up!

    January 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  12. RichardHead

    So when did our President appoint his wife to the FDA Administration? I was under the impression that only Congress had that power. Also WHY does our President want to Merge USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FISA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration..(FDA)? Something sounds Fishy to me in this Administration. Just sayin'.

    January 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Deborah

      Anyone... ANYONE....who will step up and try and rein in the current crop of young heifers and pigs that are gluttonously shoving modern day junk in their face until they can only waddle down the halls, sit on the couch and wind up costing the rest of us money taking care of their healthcare bills when they develop diabetes, high bloodbressure and all the other diseases that you get from being obese is WELCOME. God Bless Mrs Obama for taking a hand in trying to help the kids since their lazy a## parents can't be bothered. I'm tired of looking at a bunch of grossly fat, slovenly people with no sense of self respect... or survival. Quit trying to turn this into a political issue. The woman is working to do some good in the world.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Zhasulan

      please get a copy of audit and read the cnmoemts by the auditor. they are very damning of picards/barrons bookkeeping practices.

      January 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
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      February 6, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  13. Abby

    High-carb, low-fat diets are the perfect way to get fat!

    Until Michelle Obama and the rest of the country realizes that we need to eat lower-carb, moderate fat & protein diets, obesity will continue to rise.

    It's not that hard: put 1 serving of protein on your plate, fill the rest of the plate with vegetables and fruits. Limit grain-based carbs & sugar, those are "treats", not what your meal should be based around. (But most of us do: pasta, sandwiches, etc., a large percent of the average America's calories come from grain-based carbs. And humans don't even require grains, we cannot even digest them unless they are ground/cooked first. )

    And forget about the reduced-fat stuff, dietary fat doesn't equal to body fat, you get more nutrients from food containing fat than from fat-free foods. For example, if you drink a glass of skim milk, you only absorb about 5% of the calcium in it; versus a glass of whole milk you absorb over 50% of the calcium. A salad with fat-free dressing? You absorb significantly fewer of the nutrients from the salad; an olive-oil based vinaigrette is a much better choice than zero-fat dressings.

    January 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
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