Report Emphasizes Need for More Nutritionally Sound School Meals

October 20, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – October 20, 2009 – “Each day, more than 30 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program, and 10 million students participate in the National School Breakfast Program. Unfortunately, national nutrition standards and meal requirements were created more than a decade ago, making them outdated and resulting in meals that are loaded with fat and include sodium levels that far exceed children’s dietary needs. With many of these children receiving as much as 50 percent of their daily caloric intake from school meals, it is vitally important for schools to provide nutritious food for students.

“Today, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine released its recommendations on revising and improving the meals served as part of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. The report recommendations will go a long way to improve the meal quality of foods in school, model healthy eating and help to curb the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our nation’s young people.

“We know that about one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States each year can be attributed to poor diet, physical inactivity and obesity, and that the majority of children, as well as adults, are not meeting recommended dietary guidelines. Schools are a critical place to teach children about adopting a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and staying physically active.  It is especially important to address healthy eating and physical activity in childhood because overweight and obese children are more likely to remain so as adults.

“The American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), are committed to promoting prevention, including good nutrition, for all Americans in all sectors of society. ACS CAN supports the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act as well as other initiatives that promote healthy living for children, support the need to update nutrition standards outside of school meals programs and place a stronger emphasis on physical education and health.

“It is important for people of all ages to consume a diet that includes five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day and to limit consumption of red and processed meats, refined grains and sugary drinks. The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN support evidence-based strategies that promote healthy behaviors and remove barriers to healthy living. With improvements in nutrition and physical activity, people will live longer and healthier lives and celebrate more birthdays.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Christina Saull
Phone: (202) 585-3250
Email: [email protected]

Steve Weiss
Phone: (202) 661-5711
Email: [email protected]

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