The school lunch overhaul proposed today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is a giant leap in the right direction for tackling obesity in America. The proposed rules would gradually reduce sodium, limit starchy vegetables, ban most trans fats, require fat-free or lowfat milk, increase whole grains, add more fruits and vegetables, and, for the first time, limit the number of calories children consume daily.
In a national telephone news briefing, Vilsack says children get about a third of their calories in school and that the number needs to be reduced to head off “serious consequences” relating to their health and also national security.
The new guidelines apply to breakfasts and lunches served at the school, but not what’s sold in the vending machines. (Apparently this will be addressed later)
This is the first time in 15 years that real changes will be made to school lunches. Today's proposal comes a few weeks after President Barack Obama signed the child-nutrition bill into law. Vilsack says that law will provide up to $380 million annually in federal funds to help schools meet the new nutritional guidelines. He adds that the standards are a proposal, and it will likely be several years before schools have to make changes.