Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act: Improving Nutritional Quality of Meals, Not Reducing Participation

The USDA recently released a statement from Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, in response to a new Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) study regarding the effects of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The study looked at the nutritional value of the foods students chose, as well as the number of kids who ate school meals before and after implementation of the new USDA guidelines.

Key findings:

  • Nutritional value of foods chosen by students increased by 29%.
  • Despite popular belief, the new guidelines DID NOT reduce school lunch participation rates.

Researchers suggest that by increasing variety, portion size and number of servings of fruits and vegetables, kids are able to select meals that are more nutritious!


‚ÄúThis study is the latest in a long list of evidence which shows that stronger school meal standards are leading to healthier habits in schools. Children are eating more fruits and vegetables and consuming more nutrients, making them better prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom. After decades of a growing obesity epidemic that harmed the health and future of our children and cost our country billions, we are starting to see progress in preventing this disease. Now is not the time to take a step backwards in our efforts to do what is right for our children’s health. I urge Congress to reauthorize the child nutrition programs as soon as possible and to maintain the high standards set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”

For more information regarding the RWJF study, feel free to check out the research article provided by JAMA Pediatrics.

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