"New Rules for School Meals Aim at Reducing Obesity"

"Hoping to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity, the Obama administration on Wednesday announced its long-awaited changes to government-subsidized school meals, a final round of rules that adds more fruits and green vegetables to breakfasts and lunches and reduces the amount of salt and fat."

"The announcement came months after the food industry won a vote in Congress to block the administration from carrying out an earlier proposal that would have reduced starchy foods like potatoes and prohibited schools from counting a small amount of tomato paste on a slice of pizza as a vegetable. Under the latest rules, potatoes are not restricted, and tomato paste can qualify as a vegetable serving.

The rules were announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Michelle Obama at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va.

'As parents, we try to prepare decent meals, limit how much junk food our kids eat and ensure that they have a reasonable balanced diet,' Mrs. Obama said in a statement. 'And when we are putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria.'"

Ron Nixon reports for the New York Times January 25, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"School Lunch Gets a Makeover" (Los Angeles Times)

"New USDA School Food Standards: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (Washington Post)

"New School Lunch Guidelines Stress Veggies" (National Journal)

"New USDA School Food Standards: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (Huffington Post/Bettina Elias Siegel)

"32 Million Reasons to Cheer the USDA" (Huffington Post/Nancy Huehnergarth)

"School Lunches Get First Overhaul in 15 Years – But Pizza Still a Vegetable" (Christian Science Monitor)

"USDA Issues New School Lunch Nutrition Standards" (Vending Times)

"Wheat Farmers Have a Stake in New School Nutrition Standards" (High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal)

"Weighing in on the USDA's School Lunch Standards" (MNN)

School Nutrition Assn. Release of January 25, 2012

"Cheers for USDA’s New Nutrition Standards" (Food Politics/Marion Nestle)

"The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues" (USDA-ERS)

USDA FNS National School Lunch Program Page

"School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children" (Institute of Medicine)
 

Source: NY Times, 01/30/2012