USDA aims to promote healthy options in schools

02/08/2010 05:03:26 PM
Tom Karst

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the rest of the federal government had a snow day on Feb. 8, but the speech he was supposed to have delivered to the National Press Club that day still made headlines.

The New York Times reported Feb. 7 that excerpts of Vilsack’s speech obtained by the paper indicate that the USDA will take the position that vending machines in schools be “filled with nutritious offerings to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our nation’s children.”

The Obama administration was poised to support Democrat-sponsored legislation to ban sugary beverages and candy from schools and require schools to offer more nutritious fare.

Meanwhile, the USDA has been reaching out to editorial boards to attract support for its campaign to improve child nutrition fight obesity.

“The USDA recommends setting higher standards for all foods sold in school, including in vending machines and a la carte lines, and related policies and programs to ensure that the school environment is a positive influence on children’s diets, their physical activity choices, and their health,” according to a release from the department.



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