Subject: Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program Docket ID: FNS-2007-0038
I thank USDA for its efforts to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches and breakfasts. The school meal proposal is the strongest set of school meal standards to date.
Given the high childhood obesity rates and the important role school meals play in children's diets, once implemented, these updated standards will make an important contribution to improving the diets and the long-term health of millions of children across the country. I strongly support the proposed school meal standards, including the following:
* Increasing the number of servings of fruits and vegetables served with meals, with an emphasis on a greater variety of vegetables and fewer starchy vegetables, like french fries;
* Ensuring all grains served in the school lunch and breakfast programs are rich in whole grains;
* Serving only milk that is fat-free or low-fat;
* Lowering sodium in meals over time;
* Ensuring schools are regularly reviewed to assess compliance with the new nutrition standards; and
* Providing training and technical assistance and supporting nutrition education and promotion efforts, as soon as possible, to help schools implement the meal changes by the start of the 2012 school year.
I applaud USDA for its leadership on improving school meals and child nutrition. Swift implementation of the proposed meal standards will do much to help safeguard the health of American children.