Princeton, N.J.―Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released the following statement regarding the interim final rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture updating nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold in school vending machines, stores and à la carte lines. The standards are scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
“I commend the U.S. Department of Agriculture for taking this momentous step to bring healthier snacks and drinks to students across the nation. The updated standards are critical to addressing the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic and helping our most vulnerable children get the foods and drinks they need to grow up strong and healthy.
“Together with recent efforts to improve school meals, these updates will help to create a culture of health in schools and a better future for millions of children.
“Right now, fewer than 5 percent of school districts require foods and drinks sold outside of meals to meet national nutrition recommendations. But some schools are out in front on the issue, making healthy changes before the new standards take effect. And they’re showing that healthier snacks and drinks can support students’ health without hurting school budgets.
“While the standards will not take effect until the 2014-2015 school year, schools can begin implementation and act now. Let’s seize this opportunity. When it comes to keeping our kids healthy, there is no time to waste.”
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. For more than 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. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.