Senator Boxer: Improving Child Nutrition
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Over the years, because of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, the nutritional standards of children improved significantly. These programs require that school meals meet nutrition standards, including limits on fat and requirements for protein, vitamins and minerals.
However, these standards apply only to meals served by a school’s food service program – cafeteria food. They do not apply to vending machines, school snack bars, lunch carts, or other a la carte providers. Recent studies show that an overwhelming number of schools offer these food choices, including 99 percent of high schools, 97 percent of middle schools, and 83 percent of elementary schools.
I am pleased to let you know that I have joined in an effort to improve the school food standards of these a la carte food sales. The Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009 would update the nutrition standards for schools to create science-based nutrition standards that are suitable for children and to have those standards apply to all food sold at schools. Certain parties and fundraising activities would be exempt.
As we have watched the increase in childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes in children it has become clear that the current exemption for a la carte foods — created in the 1970s — no longer makes sense from the standpoint of nutrition science, current dietary patterns and public health concerns. Clearly, more needs to be done to ensure that our children have healthy, nutritious food available to them. This legislation is a step in the right direction.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer