Final school nutrition rules fail kids

Written by: Stephanie Perez-Carrillo
Date Posted: February 1, 2019

Last month the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced they would weaken school nutrition standards and guidelines. Over 100,000 comments were submitted to the federal register with 99 percent opposing any changes to the rules. While we are disappointed that the final rule doesn’t reflect the priorities we laid out in our comments on the proposed change, we continue to fight for improvement to school foods. The revised standards will continue to allow kids to eat foods with high sodium, processed grains and high sugar flavored milk.

Reduced sodium targets were initially set to be implemented in the next school year, but were postponed to 2024-2025. Rather than requiring 100 percent whole grain rich items, the revised guidelines allow 50 whole grain items to be served to students. Finally, the guidelines permit the addition of low-fat flavored milk to be offered to students at the checkout line. A study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that students ate more nutrient dense foods, with decreasing rates ofplate waste under the previous health standards.

The final rule negatively affects the health of thousands of Colorado students who eat school lunches. We know that healthy food standards reduce health disparities and are critical in the efforts to combat obesity and improve student health.

Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

About Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

Stephanie works as a Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, she worked as a Public Policy Fellow at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado – where she found her love and passion for policy work. Before diving into the policy world, Stephanie served as a Teach for America Corps Member in South Carolina, teaching high school and middle school math. Early on while obtaining her degree in Marketing from Florida International University, she worked in health care as a Patient Advocate and Unit Secretary. When she is not working, you can typically find her at a coffee shop, hanging out with friends, or engaging in some type of outdoor activity.