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School Nutrition: Making the Grade?

New policies aim to reduce childhood obesity.

Mealtime at School continued...

"Schools across the country are already adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy to meals," says Mueller. "The addition of fresh fruits and vegetables, delicious whole grains, and milk served cold in eye-appealing, easy-to-grasp bottles instead of antiquated, hard-to-open cartons, is teaching kids that healthy food tastes good.

"Let’s face it: if they don’t eat it, we have not done our jobs," she says.

Another perk of the school breakfast or lunch: "It teaches kids proper portion sizes," says Mueller.

Offering more healthy food may increase the cost of school meals somewhat, she says. But "these are great meals that are worth the money," she adds.

Can They Make a Difference?

The real question is whether these new policies can really make a difference in the waistlines of our nation’s children.

A preliminary analysis by Action for Healthy Kids recently found that only half of the 112 school districts in 42 states met even the federal government's minimum guidelines for nutrition and physical education.

"There are lots of challenges. The school wellness policies are an added requirement onto an already very full agenda” says Mueller.

But, she adds, "It is also exciting to see how each district is approaching the challenges and implementing policies that are working beautifully."

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Reviewed on September 15, 2006

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