Jan 26 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: January 26

USDA Releases New School Meal Requirements

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released new meal requirements aimed at raising standards for school meals for the first time in more than fifteen years. The goal of the effort is to improve the health of the nearly 32 million kids that get meals at school. The new standards include:

  • Offer both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
  • Substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
  • Offer only fat-free or low-fat milk;
  • Ensure proper portion size, adjusted for age of the children served; and
  • Reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.

Read more on school health.

Kellogg Foundation Report Outlines Critical Needs to Advance Oral Health Care in the U.S.

A new report, Oral Health Quality Improvement in the Era of Accountability, released today by the Kellogg Foundation, looks at ways to improve oral health care in the U.S., including better integrated and electronic dental records, an expanded role for allied dental professionals and better measurement of oral health outcomes.

A key finding of the report is that systemic barriers have impeded change, including:

  • There is limited evidence on best practices for most dental procedures, leading to widespread variation in clinical decisions among dentists;
  • The government only pays for about six percent of dental care nationally, and dental practices and their patients are not part of a larger provider organization pushing for improvements; and
  • The system lacks incentives to implement quality improvement programs.

Diets High in Animal Fat Increase the Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Women who consumed a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol before pregnancy were at higher risk for gestational diabetes than women whose diets were lower in animal fat and cholesterol, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Read more on maternal and infant health.

Tags: Public health, Access to Health Care, Diabetes, Maternal and Infant Health, News roundups, Nutrition, School Health