Trump Administration Should Nix Plans to Loosen School Nutrition StandardsHealth Nutrition
More than 53 million American children rely on school meals to meet their daily nutritional needs. Over the years, nutrition standards for school meals–set in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010–have been embraced nationwide and and schools are successfully offering an increased amount of healthy options, such as low-fat milk and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Research has shown that when these healthier options are available, high school students are at a lower risk of being overweight or obese.
But the Trump administration this week began threatening the bipartisan progress we’ve made. US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a proclamation delaying implementation of school meal nutrition standards.
Although details about the order are limited, here’s what we know the proclamation includes:
- Delaying the implementation of the next sodium reduction target to July 1, 2010;
- Granting schools waivers in providing whole grain-rich foods;
- Allowing schools to serve flavored, 1 percent fat milk instead of nonfat.
These provisions were also included as riders in the FY2017 omnibus spending bill.
Consider that 90 percent of school-age children in the US consume too much sodium each day, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
We’ve made too much progress towards better childhood health and nutrition to start backtracking now. And there are still too many challenges to overcome. That’s why the First Focus Campaign for Children is urging the Administration to change course and fully implement these healthier standards so all children have access to nutritious food at school.