New USDA guidelines would boost children’s healthNutrition
Advocate applauds “long overdue” standards
First Focus on Children applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its efforts to modernize federal nutrition standards for school meals with the new guidelines proposed today for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. Ensuring that the 30 million children who eat school meals are getting the most nutritious food possible is imperative to their health, development and learning.
A vast body of research confirms that improving the nutrition of school meals not only increases a student’s ability to focus and learn but also helps children build a lifetime of healthier eating habits. Meals provided at school must meet the highest nutritional standards in order to fight the epidemic of diet-related disease among our children. USDA’s proposed new standards keep pace with established science that confirms the link between good nutrition and the healthy development of children.
Specifically, First Focus supports:
- The long overdue introduction of a standard to limit added sugars
- The requirement that at least 80% of the weekly grains offered are whole grain-rich
- Continuation of the requirement to offer unflavored milk at each meal
We look forward to working with USDA on finalizing the rule and importantly, with our partners in the school system to ensure they have the resources necessary to meet the new guidelines and deliver the most nutritious meals possible to the country’s students.
First Focus on Children is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.