3132.0 Regulating Competitive Foods in Schools: From Assessment to Policy

Monday, October 29, 2012: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
In December of 2010, Congress passed the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act giving the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to regulate all foods sold in schools both in and out of the school meals program. Although the USDA has long regulated the nutritional quality of school meals, this is the first time that the Federal Government has had the ability to set standards for "competitive foods" such as foods sold in vending machines, school stores, a la carte lines, etc. These foods are sold in the majority of schools around the country and vary tremendously in nutritional quality due to a patchwork of local and state policies. While advocates for national standards argue they are crucial to improving school nutrition environments and curbing the obesity epidemic, opponents contend that strong federal standards would negatively impact school revenues and thus, school services. This session will present a “state-of-the-states” report examining what is currently being sold in the school food environment, followed by a presentation of the first ever Health Impact Assessment conducted on a federal competitive foods policy, which will address the methods, findings, implications and lessons learned from the study that can both inform policy decisions and future HIA practice. Presenters will then explore focus group and national polling results on the topic of competitive foods, followed by a detailed set of policy recommendations to USDA.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe the current state of foods sold outside of the school meal program across the country; 2. Discuss the potential physical and financial health impacts of a national competitive food policy; and 3. Formulate recommendations for policy makers and implementers related to improving the competitive food environment in schools across the country.
Megan Lott, MPH, RD
Megan Lott, MPH, RD

Introductory Remarks The Moderator will introduce the research topic area – competitive foods in schools – including the history of how such items have been regulated to date, and what changes are expected from USDA in the coming year. Additionally, each of the speakers and their topic areas will be introduced. Learning Objective: Define competitive foods as sold in schools and identify the difference between these items and the national school meal programs. Megan Lott, MPH, RD
Discussion The moderator will lead a facilitated question and answer session between the audience and panelists. Learning Objective: Discuss the current state of competitive food offerings around the country and the potential health impacts of a national competitive foods policy. Megan Lott, MPH, RD

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Organized by: Food and Nutrition
Endorsed by: Law, Maternal and Child Health, School Health Education and Services, Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

See more of: Food and Nutrition