Strategy 5-2: Ensure strong nutritional standards for all foods and beverages sold or provided through schools. All government agencies (federal, state, local, and school district) providing foods and beverages to children and adolescents have a responsibility to provide those in their care with foods and beverages that promote health and learning. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide specific science-based recommendations for optimizing dietary intake to prevent disease and promote health. Implementation of these guidelines would shift children’s and adolescents’ dietary intake to prevent obesity and risk factors associated with chronic disease risk by increasing the amounts of fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber grains they consume; decreasing their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, dietary fat in general, solid fats, and added sugars; and ensuring age-appropriate portion sizes of meals and other foods and beverages. Federal, state, and local decision makers are responsible for ensuring that nutrition standards based on the Dietary Guidelines are adopted by schools; these decision makers, in partnership with regulatory agencies, parents, teachers, and food manufacturers, also are responsible for ensuring that these standards are implemented fully and that adherence is monitored so as to protect the health of the nation’s children and adolescents.
For the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), potential actions include
• adopting nutrition standards for all federal child nutrition programs (i.e., the School Breakfast, National School Lunch, Afterschool Snack, Summer Food Service, and Special Milk programs) that are aligned with guidance on optimal nutrition; and
• adopting nutrition standards for all snacks and beverages sold/served outside of federal child nutrition programs that are aligned with guidance on optimal nutrition.
For state legislatures and departments of education, potential actions include
• adopting nutrition standards for foods sold/served outside of federal child nutrition programs that are aligned with guidance on optimal nutrition.