broad-based initiatives include Action for Healthy Kids (a public-private partnership with state-based coalitions) and the Healthy Schools Program sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (a joint effort of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) (Chapters 2 and 5).

Improving School Food and Beverage Nutrition

The food and beverages sold or available in schools through the federal meal programs, as competitive (à la carte) items in the school cafeteria, in vending machines, in school stores, or in the classroom have been the focus of obesity prevention efforts in many localities (CSPI, 2006; Story et al., 2006). Policies related to the types of foods and beverages available in elementary, middle, and high schools generally differ, with more restrictive policies implemented for the lower grades. Many states are developing and implementing state nutrition standards for the foods and beverages served and sold in schools (see for example, Andersen et al., 2004; Connecticut State Department of Education, 2006). Certain cities and localities, such as Chicago and Philadelphia (Box 7-3) are enacting requirements stricter than those mandated by state law.

In 2004, the School Health Profiles (SHP) survey found that carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, or fruit drinks were offered for sale in vending machines in 95.4 percent of the schools in the 27 states for which weighted data were available. Similarly, bottled water was offered by 94.3

BOX 7-3

Overview of Nutrition Standards of the School District of Philadelphia

  • Soft drinks will not be sold or served in school.

  • Juice beverages must contain at least 25 percent real fruit juice.

  • The total fat content of snack foods must be less than or equal to 7 grams per serving.

  • The saturated fat content of snack foods must be less than or equal to 2 grams per serving.

  • The sodium content of snack foods must be less than or equal to 360 milligrams per serving.

  • The sugar content of snack foods must be less than or equal to 15 grams per serving.

  • Candy will not be served or sold during the school day.

SOURCE: Philadelphia Comprehensive School Nutrition Policy Task Force (2002).

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