American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the USDA’s preliminary rule on “competitive foods” in the nation’s schools:

“The new competitive foods rule has the right ingredients to keep American kids healthy. Less salt, sugar and fat in the snacks and drinks kids have access to at school will help them maintain a normal weight and help keep them free of heart disease and stroke.

Schools, where kids spend most of their day, play a significant role in what they eat. These new standards are a much-needed step forward in the school food environment. They will provide an excellent opportunity to promote more fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods in children’s diets.  Even more importantly, when combined with the nutrition standards for school meals, they will lower children’s high sodium intake. In addition, we are pleased to see that the rule sets minimum standards that states can exceed if they choose.

We greatly appreciate that in developing these new guidelines, the USDA took into consideration the voluntary standards developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation.

In the coming weeks, the association will submit more detailed comments on the proposed competitive foods rule.  We are committed to working with the USDA and our partners to create a positive nutritional environment in the nation’s schools. These new food and beverage guidelines will go a long way in achieving that goal by putting kids’ health first and giving us the tools to fight childhood obesity.”