by Marion Nestle
Oct 27 2009

More veggies for kids and communities

For kids:

The Institute of Medicine has a new report out on setting standards for school meals.  As easily seen in the report summary, the committee offered three main recommendations:

* Increasing the amount and variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

* Setting a minimum and maximum level of calories

* Focusing more on reducing saturated fat and sodium

Its report comes with a handy table summarizing the differences between current breakfast standards and those recommended by the IOM committee.  These are refreshingly food-based and follow the three main principles noted above.

For communities:

New York City’s ever active health department did a study on the availability of fruits and vegetables in low-income areas and found just what you might expect – few, if any, supermarkets carrying fresh produce.  To address the gap, the city has instituted the FRESH program, “Food Retail Expansion to Support Health,” to get healthier foods into the inner city.

So much is going on these days that it is hard to keep up with it.  Enjoy!

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  • Anton Crocek

    I find it curious that you rail against unsubstantiated and highly exaggerated ‘claims’ of cereal makers (as in the post above), yet blithely accept, without evidence, that increasing fruitsandvegetables and eliminatingsaturatedfat and reducingsodium has ANY effect whatsover on the health of school children.

    There is ZERO evidence for the above, but you have no problem campaigning for it?

  • ET Addison

    I’m no fan of Cocoa Krispies and all the other companies who make bogus claims for their products.

    But I wonder, how come you don’t question the ‘health claims’ of CSPI, and government agencies and local organizations who are promising all sorts of wonderful ‘benefits’ from their programs?

    Seems to me they’re doing pretty much what the evil corporations are doing — tossing around a lot of hype that sounds nice, but there isn’t much proof behind it either.

  • The lack of availability of fruits and vegetables in low-income areas is a problem nationwide. I think one of the ways to address this problem is by supporting community gardens and urban agriculture. Encouraging people to grow their own food and having non-profits and government grants help the process along can alleviate some of the problems that the ‘food desert’ issue brings up.

    As for the above commenter who claims that fruits and vegetables have no health benefits: are you kidding? by simply casting doubt on a widely held belief (that is ingrained our society’s eating traditions and has been backed up by every Health class teacher in American history) is a strawman argument. Just because Glenn Beck says it doesn’t make it true..”Damn the gubberment for making us eat our veggies!” come onnn.

    If you’re interested in community agriculture check out my new blog post on how CSAs can adopt parts of and succeed in the information age.