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Do You Support a Rollback of School Lunch Nutrition Rules?

by Countable | Updated on 12.19.18

  • The Trump administration is easing nutritional standards for school lunches that were put in place by the Obama administration.
  • The rollback eliminates long-term goals for reducing sodium in school lunches, and allows greater use of refined grains instead of the more healthful whole grains that the current standards favor.

Background

In 2010, Congress mandated higher nutritional standards for the lunches in the National School Lunch Program. The program subsidizes the cost of food for students from low-income families and, in return, participating schools must meet certain standards, such as not serving food loaded with saturated fat, packed with refined carbohydrates, or lacking in fruits or vegetables.

According to our partners at USAFacts, a non-partisan, not-for-profit civic initiative aimed at making government data accessible and understandable, more than 30 million children in the U.S. receive school lunch. More school-age kids are also qualifying for reduced-price and free school lunch, according to USAFacts. In 2016, 73 percent of school lunches were served to kids for free or at a reduced-price, an increase from 45 percent in 1980.

Roughly a third of all young people in this country are overweight or obese. The obesity rate among kids ages 6 to 19 is 20 percent, meaning that 1 out of every 5 kids carries a dangerous amount of body fat and faces a significant risk of Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Arguments for and against

The stated rationale for the current rollback is that schools can’t afford to serve food that is both nutritious and appealing. However, there’s an exemption process in place for struggling schools, and nearly every school in the country has managed to comply.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says kids are throwing away the food that meets the nutrition standards:

“If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted.”

A 2015 study found that students ate more fruit and didn’t throw out more of their meals after the nutrition standards took effect. Early research also indicates that school lunch changes alter students’ eating habits over time, suggesting that initial reactions to nutrition standards might not capture how beneficial they’ll be in the long term.

The School Nutrition Association, with members that include Domino’s Pizza, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, and most other major processed-food companies, supports the rollbacks, and backs Perdue’s assertion that kids don’t accept foods that conform to the current standards.

Margo Wootan, vice president of nutrition for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Los Angeles Times that food manufacturers make more money if they provide the same high-calorie, high-sodium foods to schools that they provide to supermarkets, rather than having separate production lines:

“It’s cheaper and easier to sell processed foods. This action by the Trump administration is a deregulatory agenda being applied on behalf of businesses to something that didn’t need to be fixed.”

What’s next?

The new regulations are slated to go into effect July 1, 2019.

What do you think?

Do you support this rollback of school lunch nutrition standards? Why or why not? Tell your reps what you think, then share your thoughts below.

—Sara E. Murphy

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / DebbiSmirnoff

Countable

Written by Countable

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(302)
  • Glowurm
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    He encourages pollution of our air and water. He allows fracking to destroy our lands. He allows oil drilling in our oceans. He allows chemical discharges into our waterways. He wants to kill the ACA, with nothing to replace it. So this plan to allow our kids foods that will harm them, should not surprise us. He’s a piece of crap! Always was. Always will be. Impeach!

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  • Miles
    Voted Support
    12/19/2018
    ···

    I don’t see any benefit that has come from it, at all. Schools are making too much food that students don’t even eat & portions get smaller to be healthier while the price gets higher. Also, plenty of students bring their own lunches because the food has gotten so unappealing so there isn’t too much of a point to it.

    Like (21)
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  • M
    12/19/2018
    ···

    No rollback on School lunches!

    Like (10)
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  • burrkitty
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    HELL NO! If Domino’s Pizza, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, and most other major processed-food companies are in favor of it then I AM AGAINST IT. They want to feed our kids their POISONOUS CRAP and get them addicted to TRASH FOOD. Diet is everything to long term health! I don’t want my kids taught to eat that GARBAGE directly or by proxy with their friends eating it!

    Like (38)
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  • SneakyPete
    Voted Support
    12/19/2018
    ···

    SCHOOL🏫 BREAKFAST? LUNCH & SUPPER? FOOD 🥘 PROGRAMS I’m in support of the stated rationale for the current rollback is that schools can’t afford to serve food that is both nutritious and appealing. However, there’s an exemption process in place for struggling schools, and nearly every school in the country has managed to comply. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says kids are throwing away the food that meets the nutrition standards: “If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted.” SneakyPete..... 👍🏻🧒👦🏻👍🏻. 12*19*18.....

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  • Dan
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Congressmen Graves, Perdue and Isakson: DO NOT DO THIS! This is more Trump mean-spiritedness to pay for his tax cuts for the rich and his damn wall.

    Like (4)
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  • Julia
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Stop repealing everything Obamas ever did! Create your own agendas and focus on the future, not the past!

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  • Victoria
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    America is riddled with obese children why not help teach about healthier options and keep healthy lunches. Just because the schools are treated as garbage doesn’t mean the kids should suffer and eat garbage.

    Like (19)
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  • John
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Along with the program, schools need to teach good, healthy nutrition and lifestyles. The whole country could benefit from those instructions.

    Like (15)
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  • Charles
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Obesity is out of control for young people.

    Like (15)
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  • DrCindyBean
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Keep school lunches and keep them nutritionally strong and balanced.

    Like (12)
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  • Jack
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    While I agree that we’re all ultimately responsible for ourselves, and helping our own children make better choices, many parents don’t make good choices for themselves, let alone pass that on to their children. The point of education is to help them make better decisions, and the argument that we could provide both nutritional and junk food for the kids to pick from isn’t encouraging that. These regulations are helping kids understand what better eating habits are, and the more impact we can have at this age, the more millions of dollars we’ll save on healthcare later...

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  • Jim2423
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    I just can not understand why schools have to have vending machines when supposedly kids can not afford lunches. We pay enough in school taxes lunches should be free to all. I understand not all kids like what the school serves but vending machines with JUNK food, give me a break.

    Like (11)
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  • J. scott
    Voted Oppose
    12/20/2018
    ···

    Absolutely not leave school lunches alone.

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  • Charlotte
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Obesity hits so many facets of money spent in America, healthcare being one. Let’s make sure our children get nutritional food at school. Stop the problem before it starts with our children!

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  • Brian
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    We have evidence that the obesity rate and overall health of students in schools has improved since these standards were put in place. What justification is there to reduce the higher nutritional standards? Don't we care the most about our children's health?

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  • Ann
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Absolutely not! Obesity is finally down and we need to encourage its decline.

    Like (9)
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  • Danielle
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    This is common sense. Why are we intentionally contributing to this country's obesity problem?

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  • Sharen
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    No, I do not support discontinuing rules for nutritious lunches for our children. Is the Republican Congress , trump, and his administration so greedy that they would harm our children’s health?Shameless!

    Like (8)
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  • David
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    America already has a obesity problem, last thing to do is make it easier!

    Like (8)
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  • Emmanuelle
    Voted Oppose
    12/19/2018
    ···

    Nutrition education saves tax dollars by promoting healthy lifestyles.

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