Encouraging Schools to Adopt  

  Dietary Guidelines for Meals Served  

Challenge

Prior to the 1996 reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, there was a growing desire to ensure school meals adhered to the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services’ Dietary Guidelines for Americans; but many school administrators and food service directors viewed such requirements as impossible to implement and were voicing opposition. 

Intervention

Advocates for Better Children’s Diets, with support from fruit and vegetable organizations and the American Heart Association,

  • Brought together 32 nutrition, consumer, and education groups to develop a guide that could demonstrate how many school food service operations nationwide were already meeting the Dietary Guidelines while maintaining participation and initiating innovative marketing techniques.

  • Surveyed and analyzed responses from more than 100 schools nationwide that members from the Nutrition Education and Training Association identified as implementing in the school cafeteria.

Outcome
  • Published and distributed to 50 State and the District of Columbia Departments of Education and more than 500 schools and organizations, Making the Honor Role: A Community Action Guide to Improve Kids’ Diets through Child Nutrition Programs, which motivated schools nationwide to offer healthy meals to students through cost-effective methods and marketing techniques that increase participation. 

  • Secured provisions in the 1996 Child Nutrition Act legislation that required school meals meet the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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