Friday, January 14, 2011

The USDA Proposes New Guidelines to Make School Lunches Healthier

It's no secret there is a childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S. Statistics from 2007-2008 indicate that about 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years are obese and the prevalence of childhood obesity continues to increase.[1] Yet, many of us are still surprised when we see the numbers. What is being done about this? Do we know why obesity persists? There are several theories ranging from increased sugary drink consumption to bad eating habits to an overall lack of education, access to healthy foods, and supervision. It very well may be a combination of all of the above.

So what is being done? In an effort to fight childhood obesity, the USDA announced January 13 new proposed guidelines to make school lunches healthier. These would be the first changes in 15 years and would include cutting salt and fat and adding more fruits and veggies to cafeteria selections. Under the proposed new guidelines[2]:
  • School meals would have calorie limits.
  • Salt would be cut by half over 10 years.
  • Most trans fats would be banned.
  • More fruits and vegetables would be included in each meal.
  • Only low-fat or nonfat milk would be served.
  • Meals would see increases in the amount of whole grains and eventually will include only whole grains.
  • Breakfast would include both grain and protein, not one or the other.
For more information about the proposed guideline changes for school lunches, read the HealthDay article "U.S. Aims to Make School Lunches Healthier" here.

Have a suggestion? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Post your comments here or to ACHS Facebook at

[1] Ogden, C., PhD & Carroll, M., M.S.P.H. Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963-1965 Through 2007-2008. Web. Accessed online 1/14/11 at
[2] HealthDay. (2011). U.S. Aims to Make School Lunches Healthier. Web. Accessed 1/14/11 at

No comments: