U.S.D.A. has new rules for snacks in school vending machines

7 Jul

Moi has been following the school vending machine issue for awhile. In Government is trying to control the vending machine choices of children, moi wrote:
The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. Ron Nixon reports in the New York Times article, New Guidelines Planned on School Vending Machines about the attempt to legislate healthier eating habits. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/us/politics/new-rules-planned-on-school-vending-machines.html?_r=1&hpw
There have been studies about the effect of vending machine snacking and childhood obesity.
Katy Waldman wrote the Slate article, Do Vending Machines Affect Student Obesity?

Despite all the recent handwringing (even pearl clutching) over junk food in schools, a study out this month in the quarterly Sociology of Education found no link between student obesity rates and the school-wide sale of candy, chips, or sugary soda. The finding undermines efforts by policy makers to trim kids’ waistlines by banning snacks from the classroom. And it must taste odd to the many doctors and scientists who see vending machines as accessories in the childhood obesity epidemic.  
The study followed 19,450 fifth graders of both sexes for four years. At the beginning, 59 percent of the students went to schools that sold “competitive foods”—that is, non-cafeteria fare not reimbursable through federal meal programs. CFs tend to have higher sugar or fat content and lower nutritional value (think the indulgences at the top of the food pyramid, like Coke and Oreos). By the time the students reached eighth grade, 86 percent of them attended schools that sold competitive foods. The researchers, led by Pennsylvania State University’s Jennifer Van Hook, then compared body mass indexes from the 19,450 students, including those who’d spent all four years in junk food-free environments, those who’d left such schools for vending machine-friendly ones, those who’d transferred from vending machine-friendly schools to junk food-free schools, and those who enjoyed access to vending machines for all four years. Regardless of which data sets they contrasted, the researchers were unable to find any sort of connection between obesity and the availability of “unhealthy” snacks in school. In other words, children who could theoretically grab a Snickers bar after class every day for four years were, on average, no heavier than those who couldn’t.
While Van Hook speculated to the New York Times that the findings reflect our tendency to “establish food preferences… early in life,” she also noted in her paper that middle schoolers’ regimented schedules could prevent them from doing much unsupervised eating. (I guess that means that the students didn’t have time to utilize the junk food options they had, which is an issue for another day). In any case, the takeaway is clear. You can’t solve childhood obesity by outlawing vending machines. The obesity epidemic (if it is one) depends on a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Maybe a full-court press of school regulations plus zoning laws that encourage supermarkets to come to poor neighborhoods plus government subsidies for fruits and veggies plus crackdowns on fast food advertising plus fifty other adjustments would begin to make a dent in the problem. (Maybe a saner cultural attitude towards food, weight, and looks in general would also help). http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/01/24/junk_food_in_school_do_vending_machines_make_kids_fat_.html

See, Rising Childhood Obesity and Vending Machines http://www.medicaladvices.net/Child_Health/rising-childhood-obesity-and-vending-machines-a14.html
Nirvi Shah writes in the Education Week article, Rules for School Vending Machines, Snacks Unveiled:

Long-awaited rules that regulate the fat, salt, sugar, and calories in snacks and vending machine foods sold in schools were finally released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today.
The rules take effect during the 2014-15 school year. Nutrition advocates have been pressing the USDA to issue the rules this month. Any later, and they wouldn’t have taken effect until the 2015-16 school year.
The new rules are the first update to school snack regulations since the 1970s. The existing rules only limited “foods of minimal nutritional value,” which didn’t keep candy bars, snack cakes, and sugary, vitamin-fortified sports drinks, from being regulated, said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Despite some high hopes for the rules, which come on the heels of strict rules for school lunches, they won’t completely wipe out sodas, chips, or sweets from schools. But they will make a dent.
“Millions of students currently have widespread access to snacks and beverages that are high in sugar, fat, and salt, but limited access to nutritious options such as fruits and vegetables in school stores, snack bars, and vending machines,” said Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. “With many students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, these new standards represent the kind of positive change we need to help reduce obesity rates among children and teens.”
Many of the rules are adapted from those that were originally proposed by the agency, which received about 250,000 comments.
What happens if schools don’t comply? Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he hopes schools do, though there aren’t explicit penalties if they don’t, unlike rules for the school lunch and breakfast programs. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2013/06/rules_for_school_vending_machines_snacks_unveiled.html?intc=es

Here is the press release for the “Smart Snacks in Schools” rule:

News Release
Release No. 0134.13
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

Printable version
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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights New “Smart Snacks in School” Standards; Will Ensure School Vending Machines, Snack Bars Include Healthy Choices

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that under USDA’s new ” Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards, America’s students will be offered healthier food options during the school day.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children,” said Secretary Vilsack. “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.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools — beyond the federally-supported meals programs. The “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards, to be published this week in the Federal Register, reflect USDA’s thoughtful consideration and response to the nearly 250,000 comments received on the proposal earlier this year.
“Smart Snacks in School” carefully balances science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating on campus, drawing on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, as well as healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace.
Highlights of the “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards include:
More of the foods we should encourage. Like the new school meals, the standards require healthier foods, more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner protein.
Less of the foods we should avoid. Food items are lower in fat, sugar, and sodium and provide more of the nutrients kids need.
Targeted standards. Allowing variation by age group for factors such as portion size and caffeine content.
Flexibility for important traditions. Preserving the ability for parents to send their kids to school with homemade lunches or treats for activities such as birthday parties, holidays, and other celebrations; and allowing schools to continue traditions like fundraisers and bake sales.
Ample time for implementation. Schools and food and beverage companies will have an entire school year to make the necessary changes, and USDA will offer training and technical assistance every step of the way.
Reasonable limitations on when and where the standards apply. Ensuring that standards only affect foods that are sold on school campus during the school day. Foods sold at afterschool sporting events or other activities will not be subject to these requirements.
Flexibility for state and local communities. Allowing significant local and regional autonomy by only establishing minimum requirements for schools. States and schools that have stronger standards than what is being proposed will be able to maintain their own policies.
USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food.
America’s students now have healthier and more nutritious school meals due to improved nutrition standards implemented as a result of the historic Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
USDA’s MyPlate symbol and the resources at ChooseMyPlate.gov provide quick, easy reference tools for parents, teachers, healthcare professionals and communities.
USDA launched a new $5 million Farm to School grant program in 2012 to increase the amount of healthy, local food in schools.
USDA awarded $5.2 million in grants to provide training and technical assistance for child nutrition foodservice professionals and support stronger school nutrition education programs.
Collectively these policies and actions will help combat child hunger and obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation’s children; a top priority for the Obama Administration. The interim final rule announced today is an important component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to combat the challenge of childhood obesity.
Additional materials available:
High-resolution version info-graphic
Questions & Answers
TV Feature
Interim Final Rule
For more information on Smart Snacks in School, please visit http://www.usda.gov/healthierschoolday
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

The issue of childhood obesity is complicated and there are probably many factors. If a child’s family does not model healthy eating habits, it probably will be difficult to change the food preferences of the child. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

University of Illinois Chicago study: Laws reducing availability of snacks are decreasing childhood obesity https://drwilda.com/2012/08/13/university-of-illinois-chicago-study-laws-reducing-availability-of-snacks-are-decreasing-childhood-obesity/
New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/
Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/
Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
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One Response to “U.S.D.A. has new rules for snacks in school vending machines”


  1. UK Obesity and School food: UK Govt researches Head Teachers « Dr Alf's Blog - July 7, 2013

    […] U.S.D.A. has new rules for snacks in school vending machines […]

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