USDA Offers Kids Poor Nutrition...

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Commodity Program distributes food to more than 94,000 public and private schools. A good idea, but here’s the problem. A new study gives the nutritional-quality of this food a FAILING grade!

The California Food Policy Advocates and Samuels & Associates conducted the research. Here’s a bit, via TreeHugger:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently provides school districts with more than 180 different commodity food items per year valued at approximately $1 billion, which makes the commodity program the largest single source of foods for schools. The nutritional quality of the foods ordered by schools through the commodity program, however, is particularly alarming. While commodity foods comprise only 20 percent of the school meal, they set the tone for the entire meal. For instance, many meals are planned around the high-fat foods ordered through the commodities program, turning them into pizza, chicken nuggets and other processed foods…

…Dietary Guidelines for Americans should be reflected in School Meal Initiative Standards, and schools should have to meet them. Efforts to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables and decrease the amount of meats and processed foods purchased for school meals would contribute to providing students with much healthier foods.

Yeah, cheese and processed food are NOT nutritional superstars! Now this is really scary. Take a look at the food distribution. From The Federal Child Nutrition Commodity Program Nutritional Quality Report:

When 82% of the food supplied is meat and dairy, OFCOURSE nutritional-quality is going to be a total flop. That much meat and cheese is a dangerous no-no. Dr. Fuhrman is a staunch advocate of LIMITING these foods for optimal health, bodyweight and lifespan.

Also, consider the environmental factor. It takes WAY more resources to produce milk and meat than it does fruits and veggies. You’d think the department of AGRICULTURE would know this!

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David Goldbeck - September 16, 2008 4:32 PM

A new resource being use to improve kid’s nutritional status is a new book “The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond.” Out only a few months and already being bought in quantity for class use. I hope parents and teachers interested in getting kids to develop a friendly attitude towards fruits and vegetables should take a look at it.
It is designed for kids of all ages as it is two books in one – children first learn their alphabet through produce poems and then go on to hundreds of related activities. Coauthored by best-selling food writer David Goldbeck and Jim Henson writer Steve Charney. More at HealthyHighways.com
Thanks

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