Fully two-thirds of U.S. states failed a healthy lunch report card released yesterday by the Center for Science and the Public Interest.
Most states lack policies that limit the amount of junk food and soft drink sales or set certain nutritional requirements.
Only 11 states have comprehensive food and beverage standards that apply to the whole campus, the whole school day, for all grade levels. Thirteen states limit portion sizes for snacks, and only 11 states limit portion sizes for beverages. Fifteen states limit the saturated-fat content of school snacks, and only ten address trans fat. Just five states set limits on sodium in school foods.
While the results are no surprise, they don't bode well for the childhood obesity epidemic plaguing the nation (childhood and adolescent obesity rates have tripled in 20 years). Some schools have had success serving up more locally grown farm produce, or just paying more attention to the nutritional needs of their students.
And there's good news. A University of Minnesota study released this week found that schools serving healthy lunches saw no drop-off in demand compared to those that serve junk foods. And there's legislation proposed in the Senate that would require new nutritional standards for many foods sold in schools.
To read the school lunch report card, visit the Center for Science and the Public Interest.
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