Princeton, N.J.—The following is a statement from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposing updated nutrition standards for snacks and beverages sold in school vending machines, stores, and à la carte lines.
“These proposed nutrition standards, the first update in more than 30 years, are long overdue and badly needed.
“Today, schools across the country are serving healthier breakfasts and lunches because of recent updates to nutrition standards for school meals. But schools also provide foods and drinks outside of breakfast and lunch. Because many children consume up to half their daily calories at school, we must do all we can to make sure schools provide students with healthy choices—no matter where the foods and drinks are sold. If a student buys a snack from a vending machine or a slice of pizza from the à la carte line, it should be healthy.
“Research shows that strong state policies on school snacks and beverages can help children and teens maintain a healthy weight. But how healthy a child is shouldn’t depend on what state he or she calls home. All students deserve to have access to healthy choices.
“I commend USDA for proposing these updates. I look forward to examining them closely and hope schools, parents and everyone who cares about children will do the same. We need the strongest possible standards to help children enjoy the best possible health.”
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. In 2007, the Foundation committed $500 million toward its goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. This is the largest commitment any foundation has made to the issue. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter (www.rwjf.org/twitter) or Facebook (www.rwjf.org/facebook).