CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Health

September 11, 2012

Returning students find healthier school lunches

Students heading back to school will be getting twice the amount of vegetables and fruits on their meal trays, as well as more whole grains, and less salt and unhealthy fats.

The updated school meal standards, unveiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in January, have been highly praised by health and education groups, including the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. The standards set calorie maximums for the first time and lower calorie minimums to better ensure that school meals address obesity, as well as hunger. 

"The new school meal standards are one of the most important measures to promote children’s health in decades," said Center for Science in the Public Interest director of nutrition policy Margo G. Wootan. "With one out of every three children in America overweight or obese, 31 million children eating school lunch, and 15 years since the last update, it was time for a change. School food service professionals are working hard to implement the new standards, and they need the support of parents, teachers, administrators, and food manufacturers." 

A job for everyone 

Parents can help by reinforcing healthy eating at home, and encouraging their kids to try the new menu options, says CSPI. Teachers can try the new school lunches and speak about them with students. School administrators can support the program by showing leadership and support for the programs and help ensure the new standards are fully implemented. State child nutrition programs can continue to support school efforts and provide ideas for menus and recipes. And companies can produce products with more whole grains and less salt. 

The updates to school meals were required by Congress in the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in late 2010. The law also provides additional funding for school meals through several provisions, including the first increase in reimbursement rates (above inflation) in years and reasonable pricing requirements for school lunches and a la carte items. 

Beginning October 1, schools will be eligible to receive an additional six cents for each healthy lunch they serve.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.

1
Text Only
Health
  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 12, 2014

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 8, 2014

  • CEMS groundbreaking CEMS holds groundbreaking

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Which foods are the worst for the environment?

    As with most arguments about our food supply, though, it's not that simple. Although beef is always climatically costly, pork or chicken can be a better choice than broccoli, calorie for calorie.

    March 15, 2014

  • ERIC-HOLDER.jpg Holder: Heroin deaths an 'urgent and growing public health crisis'

    Attorney General Eric Holder, calling the rise in deaths from overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers an "urgent and growing public health crisis," is outlining a series of efforts by the Justice Department to combat the epidemic.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Study says too much protein could lead to early death

    Even as researchers warned of the health risks of high-protein diets in middle age, they said eating more protein actually could be a smart move for people over 65.

    March 4, 2014

  • Six reasons childhood obesity has fallen so much

    A major new paper appearing in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that childhood obesity - age 2 to 5 - has fallen from 13.9 percent in 2003-04 to 8.4 percent in 2011-12.

    February 27, 2014

  • Does your insurance plan cover self-inflicted injuries?

    Dealing with a suicide or attempted suicide is stressful enough. Some health plans make the experience worse by refusing to cover medical costs for injuries that are related to suicide or an attempt - even though experts say that in many cases such exclusions aren't permitted under federal law.

    February 26, 2014