The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

June 27, 2013

Junk food bounced from U.S. schools

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The requirements are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which seeks to curb child obesity by changing food in schools and promoting healthy eating. The law required the Agriculture Department to set nutrition standards for items sold during the school day, known as "competitive foods."

The agency has jurisdiction since it oversees the federal school-lunch program, which provides low-cost and free lunches in 100,000 public and non-profit private schools. Thirty-nine states already have standards in place governing the foods offered at school, aimed at bolstering nutrition.

"Altogether, the policy and the set of standards that USDA announced is stronger than what exists in any states and most school districts I can think of," Wootan said by telephone.

Children consume as many as half their daily calories in school, where they spend more time than any location except their homes, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, which underwrites food safety programs. Studies show snacks add 112 calories to the average elementary-school student's daily diet, and those who live in states with strong snack policies gain less weight over three years than those without regulations.

The USDA rules limit salt, sugar and fats, with exemptions for natural products including nuts and seeds, dried fruits and fat-rich seafood. Each item must contain less than 200 calories, including accompaniments, and no trans fats.

There are specific requirements for what is allowed in each item. The first ingredient must be whole grain, vegetable, fruit, dairy or type of protein. Combination foods must have at least one-quarter cup of a fruit or vegetable. If water is first on the label, then one of those ingredients must be second.

There is an exception to the stringent requirements. Foods that provide at least 10 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium, potassium, vitamin D and dietary fiber are also allowed, at least temporarily. Starting in 2016, those nutrients must come naturally, rather than from fortification.

"After a phase-in period, companies won't be able to just fortify foods with cheap nutrients and call them healthy," Wootan said. "It's the difference between fortified junk food and real food."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014