New Federal Rules that were announced last week will require that schools replace unhealthy snacks such as potato chips, doughnuts, and candy bars with that of healthier snacks like baked potato chips, granola bars, and trail mix.
This is the first time that the snack guidelines in school have been overhauled in 3 decades by the U.S Agriculture Department,, but comes as no surprise as the United States Government is taking large steps to address the obesity epidemic that is plaguing millions of children of this generation.
School vending machines are typically flourished with all sorts of goodies the kids can buy for snacks, but the new regulations will regulate limits of sugar, salt, and fat contained in any snacks placed in vending machines from here forward. In addition, the new laws mandate that the healthier snacks provided by the schools also contain 1/2 protein, vegetable, fruit, or whole grains as the initial ingredient.
Beverages allowed in vending machines will also be under tight scrutiny. Low-calorie beverages, juices, and milks will be provided and flavored waters that contain calories will vanish.
According to the USDA, all of these healthier snacks standards must be put into placed by July 1, 2014. So the new regulations will be enforced for the 2014/2015 school term.
Secretary of the USDA Tom Vilsack made this statement in lieu of the new healthier snacks laws:
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. Parents and schools work hard to give our youngsters the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong, and providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will support their great efforts.”
Childhood obesity is an ongoing problem that affects nearly 18% of all children and youth. These new regulations are one of the many steps that the US government is taking in order to combat childhood obesity, with the premise of the laws being put into place by the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act that was passed in 2010.
The Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required all food served in schools to be improved and monitored by the USDA. There have been several overhauls to the National School Lunch Program since this act was placed and began implementation in 2012.
Those standards went into effect in July 2012 and are being phased in over a three-year period, according to the USDA.