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It’s time for healthier snacks and beverages in our schools

by Anne S. on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rachel wanted me to share this article by Rep. Kim Norton on healthier food options in our schools.

As a parent, I tried to teach my kids to make healthy choices. As a state representative, I understand that policy plays a crucial role in ensuring children have healthy choices at school. That’s why the updated nutrition standards for school snacks, proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are so important. They call for healthier competitive foods — the snacks and drinks schools offer outside of meal programs.

Despite years of concerned discussion, our kids are literally surrounded by junk food and sugary drinks at school. That’s because schools continue to sell them in vending machines and stores — even in à la carte lines in the cafeteria during lunch. This means many students can buy unhealthy snacks and beverages like cookies, ice cream, pizza, sugary drinks and fries instead of a more nutritious lunch.

A recent report estimates that students consume 400 billion calories worth of junk food in U.S. schools every year. Because many kids consume up to half of their overall daily calories at school and because obesity among children and youth is at crisis levels, this estimate is a sure sign that we need to move from discussion to action. Read the rest of the article.

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