New Rules for School Meals Aim at Reducing Obesity

New Rules for School Meals Aim at Reducing Obesity

Amy Stuart

April 10, 2014

This is an article written by Ron Nixon on January 25, 2012. The main points of this article are about the new rules of the national school lunch program. The main goal of this program is to reduce childhood obesity and improve the nutrition standards of what the youth are eating in school. It had been 15 years since there were any changes to the program. The new rules improve school nutrition as well as give the schools more flexibility in what foods they serve (Nixon, 2012). However, there are still some concerns Some of the new rules are that all of the milk that is served must be non fat or low fat and there are also guidelines in place that set limits on the amount of salt and trans fats in foods as well as doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables served and require that all grains served are whole grains (Nixon, 2012). The authors audience was for a mainstream population as well as for parents, professionals who work for children, and anyone who has an interest in nutrition.  The article was written objectively by providing the facts and did not appear to have any bias.  However, the reporter did seem to interview people who were all in favor of the new rules for school meals and did not provide any information on perspectives of those who did not agree with the new rules.

I believe this is important because as child development professionals who are interacting with children on a daily basis we can advocate for healthy nourishing school lunches. We can also model healthy eating habits and exercise to the children that we interact with. Teachers can do in class activities that promote healthy eating and exercise. Some recommendations would be arranging a field trip to a local farm, starting a garden with the students, having a cooking day where you teach the children how to cook a certain meal. Another activity would be to make a class cookbook where everyone brings in a recipe that they like to cook at home. You can also arrange workshops that educate and demonstrate growing, cooking and consumption of healthy foods. The new rules for school meals and the new standards that have been stepped is a step in the right direction for improving quality of foods served in schools, but there is still a lot of changes that need to be made.  All children should have access to quality and nutritious food in schools.

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5 thoughts on “New Rules for School Meals Aim at Reducing Obesity

  1. Thanks for sharing, Amy! I think the national school lunch program is definitely a work in progress. I think it’s very interesting how some school find ways to make their programs vastly different from some of those nightmarish meals that we hear about and see. From my experience working in schools, processed proteins dominate the main entree, while things like fruits can come in the form of sugar laden fruit gel cups and vegetables can be a pinch of iceberg lettuce. The way in which requirements are met certainly does vary. I’ve heard about schools in more progressive areas, like Davis, CA where organic and local dominates, and cafeteria workers prepare meals from recipes and not from freezers. Although it’s been awhile since I read the article about the lunch program at this Davis school, I recall that change came about because parents were insistent and became heavily involved with the school board. I think it’s important to know that if enough people become involved with working to make change, school boards must respond. It takes a lot of time, energy, and devotion. Hopefully positive changes will effect more children than those who are more privileged.

  2. Amy,

    Thank you for sharing this article. I agree at that it’s extremely important to take into account childrens’ health and diet, and I think that school lunches are a pivotal aspect of this. Since many of the children that need access to school lunches are lower SES children, it is very important to help these children get the nutrients they need since their families may not be able to afford more healthful foods at home. Your presentation on this issue was also enlightening, and hopefully changes will be made in this area for the health of children and the adults that they will grow into.

  3. Amy,
    Thank you for posting your News Brief on this topic. I also posted one concerning nutrition- a topic that has not been given enough attention especially in society today with so much fast food and lack of outdoor and active time.
    I was very surprised to see that it had been 15 years since any changes had been made! I was a little confused about the concerns about having nofat/lowfat milk. Nonfat milk is not necessarily the healthiest choice for children. I also find it hard to believe that the article did not have bias. I felt that the bias was that eating healthy was the preference.
    All of the suggestions for parents and professionals for fostering healthy eating and a more natural relationship with growing food were very helpful.

  4. I agree the schools need to change the lunch program overall. The lack of nutrition these schools serve is ridiculous! Its bad enough everything is fried, not only that, but lacks the recommended intake of nutrition for children. It does not help that many school are cutting recess times and decreasing the amount of physical activity. This is a huge issue and I support the change.

  5. Amy,
    Wow I cannot agree more that the school lunch situation should be taken into high priority for our country. The rates of obesity continue to rise and this can definitely help. When reading the article I was shocked to read the school lunch funding had not been changed in 15 years, that is appalling and I am happy to see there have been some changes. These healthy notions need to continue to happen if we want children and future generations to continue to thrive. I also like in the your post how you brainstormed ideas we can do as individuals and families to encourage healthier habits.

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