Washington, D.C., June 27, 2013 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the interim final rule on “competitive foods” in the nation’s schools, released today by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
“The new USDA guidelines for competitive foods will make a huge dent in the 400 billion calories from junk foods our kids consume at school every year. For the first time in 30 years, we have a robust nutrition framework for the foods and beverages sold in school vending machines, stores, snack bars and a la carte lines. These strong standards will not only transform the food and beverages offered in schools, they will help create optimal learning environments where our children can thrive.
With these standards, the USDA has taken a significant step toward improving childhood nutrition. They have removed low-nutrition, high-calorie foods from schools – foods that place children at greater risk for serious health problems such high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. The healthier options made possible by these new guidelines will encourage children to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and will support parents’ efforts to make sure their kids get the nutrition they need away from home.
Creating a school environment that supports healthy choices is the best way to encourage young people to form the positive habits they will keep for the rest of their lives. We look forward to working with the USDA to ensure that future generations eat healthy and enjoy lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”