Monday, August 31, 2015

America’s schools make positive changes to create healthier school meals

Most schools in the U.S. are implementing healthy practices to help meet federal school meal standards by offering whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, and reducing sodium content, according to data published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. School meal programs are an important source of nutrition as students consume almost half of their daily calories at school.

CDC researchers analyzed school-level data from the School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS) for 2000, 2006, and 2014 to see how well schools are implementing practices related to the nutrition standards for school meals published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2012. The standards require serving more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and gradually reducing sodium over 10 years. Previous studies have shown that students who eat school meals consume more milk, fruits, and vegetables during school meal times and have better intake of some key nutrients (such as calcium and fiber) than those who do not participate in the meal programs.

“School meals are healthier now than ever before. We’ve made real progress, but there is much more to do to help American children make food choices that will keep them healthy throughout their lives,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of schools implementing five of the nine school nutrition services practices examined has increased significantly.

For the rest of the release and more information, go to the CDC.

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