Academy Supports Proposed USDA School Meal Standards
CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports proposed revised standards, announced February 3 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for foods and ingredients that are provided to children through the National School Lunch Program.
The proposed standards, including less salt and sugar and an emphasis on whole grains, are slated to begin with the 2024-2025 school year and will be phased in, allowing school nutrition professionals, food companies and children time to adjust.
“Meals served at school should ensure children have access to foods that promote health, can help reduce diet-related illnesses, and increase health equity and food and nutrition security,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Ellen R. Shanley, MBA, RDN, CDN, FAND, the Academy’s 2022-2023 President. Shanley joined USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and leaders of other organizations interested in children’s health and food security earlier this week to discuss school meal standards.
“School personnel and the USDA responded to conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing meals to students in new and innovative ways, helping ensure that children did not go hungry,” Shanley said. “While school nutrition standards were eased during the pandemic to help programs respond to challenges, the time is right to prioritize children’s nutrition and health.”
The Academy plans to submit a formal response to the USDA’s proposed rule, supporting the alignment of meal standards with the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. “Academy members will continue to advocate for nutrition education, resources and technical assistance that will help school foodservice personnel successfully implement the proposed standards,” Shanley said.
Representing more than 113,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.
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