USDA proposes new rules for for healthier school meals
The federal government plans to modify school meals for the first time in 15 years, according to the proposal released by United States Department of Agriculture (UDSA) on Thursday
The plan offers to serve healthy food in the school cafeteria which will raise reimbursement to schools by 6 cents a meal.
Nation facing obesity epidemic
As the nation is facing an obesity epidemic due to poor diet of children this proposal has been praised by the nutrition’s across the country.
Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, wrote in a news release that, "With many children consuming as many as half their daily calories at school, strengthening nutritional standards is an important step in the Obama administration’s effort to combat childhood obesity and improve the health and well-being of our kids”.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents are suffering from obesity.
Overweight kids suffer the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
A Healthy meal
Considering the health problems, the proposal introduces a chart including the reductions in starchy food to one cup a week.
Further, there will be balanced levels of sodium: 740 milligrams per lunch for high school students, 710 milligrams from six to eight grades, and 640 milligrams for kindergarten through fifth grade.
Unflavored milk with 1 percent fat content or fat-free flavored will be served which cuts down to minimum calories for breakfast.
Lunch includes 550 to 650 calories for kindergarten till fifth grade, 600 to 700 calories from sixth to eighth grades and 750 to 850 calories for high school students.
A fruit serving at breakfast and in lunch two vegetables would be also regularly provided.
Over the course of the week, beans, green, leafy vegetables and orange vegetables will be served.
Juliet Sims, program coordinator of the Prevention Institute, an Oakland nonprofit dedicated to the well being of the children, commented, “It's what we were all expecting, but a really exciting step, particularly the fruits, vegetables and whole-grain aspects of the rules”.
A healthy future
After implementing the plan, children would learn more about good food and its value in future. This proposal will also encourage kids to adopt a good eating habits.
The U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, explained, “The reality is that for many families struggling in this economy, the only chance their child has at eating a healthy meal comes in the school cafeteria," he said in a news release. "This means that our schools have an enormous responsibility to ensure the meals they serve our kids are nutritious, well-balanced and tasty enough that our kids actually want to eat them”.