Princeton, N.J.—In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed updated standards for the implementation of local school wellness policies and opened a 60-day window for public feedback on the proposal. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, submitted comments.
In her comments, Lavizzo-Mourey called updated guidance for school wellness policies a “critical and logical next step in the ongoing effort to ensure students are given every possible chance to make healthy choices throughout the school day—in both what they eat and how active they are.” She addressed several areas covered in the proposed rule, including nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, nutrition guidelines for all foods, food and beverage marketing, and other school-based activities and resources that promote student wellness. In particular, she noted that the proposed rule introduces a simple, common-sense standard for marketing: if a food or beverage is not healthy enough to be sold in schools, it should not be marketed in schools.
Lavizzo-Mourey concluded that “in order to truly achieve a Culture of Health in the United States...we must ensure that our schools provide a foundation for a lifetime of good health for every child.” She recommended that USDA finalize the rule as quickly as possible—preferably by the start of the 2015-16 school year—so that the policies are aligned fully with updated nutrition standards for school meals, snacks, and beverages.