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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Pass the Carrot Sticks

Published January 19, 2011 10:51 AM by Danielle Bullen
Sue Sylvester's war on tater tots may be leaving the television world and coming to a school near you.  The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 revised requirements for school lunches and the cafeteria of the future will look nothing like the pizza and fries haven you may remember from your middle school days.

The new guidelines call for schools to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk to menus while limiting saturated fat, trans fats, and sodium. Processed food is out; home-grown food is in.  The act will help create school gardens and promote farm-to-table eating. Students will have more access to something as basic as clean drinking water and soda-stocked vending machines may become a thing of the past.

The federal government will increase its subsidies to school districts to help them fund the new meals, providing $4.5 billion in funding over the next 10 years. For the 32 million children who eat a school-provided lunch every day, having a strong nutritional foundation is at the basis of a healthy body and mind. Studies have shown a connection between good eating habits and academic performance. A CDC study showed students who engaged in unhealthy eating patterns were more likely to earn D's and F's than those who made healthier food choices.

What do you remember eating in your cafeteria? If you're a parent, what do your kids eat? Do you think these changes will trickle over into healthier eating patterns at home?

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