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A “Smart Snacks” Report Card for States


A new study in the Childhood Obesity journal shows that states are lagging in the process of meeting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) “Smart Snacks in Schools” guidelines that go into effect July 1.

Researchers Jamie Chriqui, Elizabeth Piekarz and Frank Chaloupka took a look at state laws as of 2012–2013 and compared them with the USDA guidelines. They found that just 16 states fully met at least one standard covering snack foods and beverages. Ten additional states partially meet at least one provision.

Though it’s clear many states have catching up to do, the researchers concluded that there is cause for optimism —particularly in those states that already meet at least some of the provisions, which should make it easier for individual schools to comply with the new standards.

The researchers also noted that many state laws covering school snacks differ in how they are applied to elementary vs. secondary schools, and suggested that the USDA  focus its implementation on high schools.

The study was done as part of the Bridging the Gap Research Program with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Donna Brutkoski authored this report.

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