In the upcoming Louisiana legislative session, the American Heart Association will seek to ensure Louisiana students are healthy and prepared to learn with the help of smart snacks.
As a nation, we are raising the bar for food and beverages sold to students at schools. The 2016 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Smart Snacks in Schools standards put in place evidence-based nutrition standards for snacks and beverages sold in schools. These items sold in vending machines, school stores and cafeteria a la carte lines are often called competitive foods because they compete with school meals for students’ spending. This is an important part of promoting healthier option while kids are in school, helping them develop lifelong healthy eating habits.
Ethical Obligation? The mission of schools is broader than simply teaching academic skills. Schools have long accepted responsibility for supporting the health of their students, for example, by requiring immunizations, providing health screenings and by offering meal programs that support their student’s nutritional health.
Healthy Eating = Better Grades. Nutritional health is associated with academic performance. Well-nourished students are better able to learn and less likely to miss school for health reasons. Research shows that children from low-income families who participate in school breakfast programs score higher on standardized tests and have better school attendance than similar students who do not participate. Breakfast programs also improve classroom behavior and attentiveness.
A focus on nutritional health in schools supports the common good by reducing the impact, including possible financial costs of future diet-related chronic disease associated with the childhood obesity epidemic.
Please stay tuned for future You’re the Cure alerts on how you can help Louisiana’s students snack smart.