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School Meals Need to Get Healthier: Report
Date:10/20/2009

chool Lunch Program is available in 99 percent of U.S. public schools and in 83 percent of private and public schools combined. The School Breakfast Program is available in 85 percent of public schools.

About 30.6 million school children participated in the school lunch program in 2007, and 10.1 million children had school breakfasts. In 2007, schools in the program served about 5.1 billion lunches and 1.7 billion breakfasts, according to the report.

Stallings hopes the recommendations will filter down to the meals parents serve at home. "I do believe that parents will be able to use some of this to talk about the kinds of fruits and vegetables they should be serving at home and other recommendations that are easily implemented, like going to skim or low-fat milk and thinking about sodium both in cooking and table salt," she said.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said "this update to school nutrition standards is timely, and most welcome."

School nutrition standards were originally devised to protect children from malnutrition and want, Katz noted.

"But in an age of epidemic childhood obesity, when children are far more likely to get too many calories than too few, and when more and more succumb to what was called 'adult onset' diabetes just a generation ago, the time-honored school food standards are clearly obsolete," he said.

More information

For more on healthful eating, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.



SOURCES: Virginia A. Stallings, M.D., Jean A. Cortner Endowed Chair, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, director, Nutrition Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Oct. 20, 2009, Institut
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