Consistency in the National School Lunch Program Essay

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The National School Lunch Program needs to standardize and regulate their set nutritional standards at all schools to help curb the growing prevalence of childhood obesity and other weight related diseases.
What is the National School Lunch Program? “The National School Lunch Program, or NSLP, is a federally assisted meal program operating in over 101,000 public and non‐profit private schools and residential childcare institutions.” ("National school lunch," 2011) This government-run program is headed by the department of Food and Nutrition standards, a subgroup of the United States Department of Agriculture. “It provides nutritionally balanced, low‐cost or free lunches to more than 31 million children each school day in 2009.”
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“Schools that choose to take part in the lunch program get cash subsidies and donated commodities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal they serve in return, they must serve lunches that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced price lunches to eligible children.”("National school lunch," 2011) The school and government have a responsibility to make sure the students receiving these reduced of free lunches have access to a meal that is healthy and nutritious because this meal is their only option for lunch during the school day.
Current Nutritional Standards of the NSLP The lunch provided to students who are eligible for reduced or free lunch is their only lunch option, since they cannot necessarily bring a packed lunch from home. Because of this the USDA and the FNS have created guidelines that each school must follow when creating these lunch programs. According to the USDA 2011, “School lunches must meet the applicable recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual's calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat.” (USDA "National school lunch," 2011) These guidelines directly follow the standards set by the USDA for everyday nutrition and must be followed by the school. The USDA has also created guidelines for other dietary allowances. The USDA in 2011 reported “Regulations also establish a standard
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