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Nutrition - Better Food Means Better Learning

Click here for information related to Early Childhood nutrition.


BPA Bombshell: Industry Database Reveals 16,000 Foods with Toxic Chemical in Packaging - EWG has created the first easily, searchable database of nearly 16,000 processed food and drinks packaged in materials that may contain the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A, or BPA.


Now is Time to Fight for Better School Food - "If you are what you eat, then I'm fast, cheap and easy." When Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse fame, saw that line on a bumper sticker, she wondered, "Is this really what we want the destiny of our nation to be?"

Free Lunch Isn't Cool, So Some Students Go Hungry - Although Francisco Velazquez, a 14-year-old freshman with spiky hair and sunglasses, qualifies for a free lunch at Balboa High School here, he was not eating. The stigma of accepting a government lunch, while others are paying for food from a different menu, is a problem many school districts across the country have been quietly confronting with mixed results, education and school nutrition officials said. San Francisco school officials are looking at ways to encourage more poor students to accept government-financed meals, including the possibility of introducing cashless cafeterias where all students are offered the same food choices and use debit cards or punch in codes on a keypad so that all students check out at the cashier in the same manner.


Study Urges Cutback in Soda Consumption - According to a review article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the typical 12-ounce soda has 150 calories and the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar, mostly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Drinking one soda a day can lead to a one-year weight gain of 15 pounds. The review also questions the role of high-fructose corn syrup, which is used to sweeten soft drinks in the United States, while sucrose is used in Europe. Although the two sweeteners contain the same amount of calories, chemical differences have led some to theorize that fructose may cause greater weight gain and insulin resistance by elevating triglycerides.


Alliance for a Healthier Generation Gives Educators Tools to Transform School Health Environments - 202 schools from 12 states have been chosen to be part of a joint effort by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association to raise healthier children. A key component of The Alliance for A Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program is the provision of direct support and assistance to schools to help them assess their current school environment, develop action plans and implement changes that will make their school environments healthier. “School is where our children spend their days and where they learn habits that stay with them for life,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. All schools nationwide can apply for recognition and receive online tools and resources by going to The Alliance's Healthy School Builder will be available on August 11.


The Alliance for a Healthier Generation - In May 2005 the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association partnered to create a new generation of healthy Americans by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats: childhood obesity through The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance focuses on preventing childhood obesity and creating healthier lifestyles for all children. The Alliance effort will focus on four key areas: industry; schools, healthcare professionals and kids.

Getting The Brainpower Flowing - One unusual theory of school improvement holds that schools hinder learning because they frequently lack natural light and sufficient access to water. One Baltimore principal has installed numerous water coolers in his middle school classrooms, although he now is struggling to pay for them. According to Laurence Martel, "One of the liabilities the modern child is facing is chronic dehydration." And contributing to the problem, he said, are sugary breakfasts, fluorescent lighting and sodas filled with sugar and caffeine. He said a school in Idaho that put water in classrooms saw a substantial reduction in special education referrals.


UK Jamie's Dinners Improve Behavior, Schools Say - Jamie Oliver's drive to rid schools of junk food has produced a big improvement in children's behavior, teachers say.


CA Schwarzenegger Urges Passage of Food Bills - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is promoting legislation that would encourage healthier food and drinks in schools, including a bill that would extend a statewide ban on soft drinks from lower grades to high schools.


Poor Health Habits Reason For Grade Gap - Obesity, poor nutrition and lack of physical fitness may partially explain why Hispanic and American Indian students in New Mexico don’t perform as well as their Anglo peers. Recently released data from Harvard University’s School of Public Health found a strong correlation between poor nutrition and health and low achievement, state Secretary of Education Veronica García told a group of teachers in Santa Fe.

Taking Fatty Acid Supplements Could Improve Behavior and School Performance in Kids With Developmental Coordination Disorders - Researchers from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom studied whether supplementing kids' diets with certain fatty acids could improve symptoms of Developmental Coordination Disorders. They found the fatty acid supplements didn't affect a child's coordination or motor skills, but after taking the fatty acid supplements, children experienced significant improvements in reading, spelling, and behavior. Children who continued to take the fatty acid supplements until the 6-month mark tested more than a year ahead of their previous reading level and more than 6 months ahead of their previous level of spelling.


CT Connecticut Governor Vetoes Junk Food Bill - The governor vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have banned most soft drinks and junk food from Connecticut schools. Soft drink companies had lobbied fiercely against the bill, and schools expressed concerns about losing revenue from sales.


CT Connecticut Schools Target Junk Food - Connecticut is on the verge of adopting the most far-reaching ban in the country on soda and junk food in public schools, in an effort to curb rising rates of childhood obesity.


AZ Senate OKs Junk Food Ban - Starting next year, Arizona's elementary and middle school students could be eating healthier. A bill expected to land on the governor's desk shortly would ban the sales of soft drinks, candy and gum during the school day beginning in July 2006. High schools would be exempt.


AZ Junk Food Bill Gains Weight With Senators - A bill to curb junk food sales in Arizona's public schools gained more steam and teeth after a Senate panel decided Wednesday to add high schools back on the legislation.


AZ Schools Get by Without Junk Food - No revenue loss shown in 5-month test of ban. Schools can make as much money selling healthy foods as they can pushing sugar and fat on students, according to a nutrition study released today by the Arizona Department of Education.


Kraft to Cut Back on Snack Ads Targeting Kids - Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) Wednesday said it would stop advertising products like Oreo cookies and Kool-Aid beverages to children younger than 12 as it works to deflect criticism that such foods contribute to childhood obesity.


PA 'Grab-and-go' Cart Gets Kids Eating - It's not just OK for pupils to eat on the run when they arrive at a middle school here each morning. It's encouraged. For about 20 minutes before homeroom, a "grab-and-go" food cart is parked near the principal's office. Pupils can grab a bagel, muffin, cold cereal and fresh fruit, throw them into a paper bag, and take them to their desks. [Login/registration required to view article.]


MI Girls Fight For Healthy Eating at School


MI Williamston, Fowlerville Schools Giving Kids Healthy Snack Options - Justin Dartt, 16, a junior at Fowlerville High School, is not happy about the new healthy snack machines at his school. Fowlerville and Williamston high schools are piloting a state program this year aimed at getting students to eat and drink healthier. is a non-commercial natural health website that offers a wealth of useful information on herbs and supplements.


Children In Crisis: Nutritional Therapy Gives Youngster a Weapon in the Battle Against Rage - Like a child reciting his favorite video game titles, Dylan DeGlopper meticulously lists the foods he can't have: anything with wheat or white flour; flavored popcorn and potato chips; anything enhanced with smoky seasoning. The no-nos go on and on. "I was ornery and cranky," he said recently, four months after starting a gluten-free diet. "I feel a lot better than I did when I was eating normal stuff. Now with this, I feel a lot more mellow."


FL Principles vs. Profits - They're not quite the scary androids of I, Robot, but snack and soda vending machines in South Florida schools are nearly as controversial. They're seen as villains by nutritionists fighting childhood obesity, as saviors by principals seeking extra cash to pay for band uniforms, class trips and senior proms.


Leadership Connections Focus on Nutrition: Appleton Central High - The Progressive Policy Institute’s 21st Century Schools Project Bulletin reports that the Appleton Central Alternative [Charter] High School in Wisconsin got rid of burgers, fries, pizza, and other fast food six years ago and replaced them with a more nutritious lunch menu. Grades and attendance are up, more students are graduating, and discipline problems are down.


UT School Nutrition Targeted - Heber Valley students still could get pop and candy at school, but it could be slim pickings under a revised nutrition policy proposal. Meanwhile, other districts are looking at what's for sale in student vending machines. Granite is urging schools to cut back on junk food. And Jordan and Nebo are studying nutrition in schools, which could lead to treat restrictions or other rules.


PA No More Fizzy Sodas in Schools - Starting next week, city students won't have Coke or Pepsi to cool off with at school. The school district's soda ban takes effect July 1. Approved in February, the policy prohibits the sale of all carbonated soft drinks to students. Only 100 percent fruit juice, water, milk and flavored milk will be sold to students in cafeterias and from vending machines. Students in grades 9 through 12, however, will still be able to buy electrolyte-replacement sports drinks from machines near sports facilities. [Source:, 6-22-04]


CA School Food Director Becomes Hero in Obesity Fight - When student nutrition directors gather for conferences, Ed Wilkins is the oddball. He's a man in a field dominated by women, has roots in business rather than nutrition, has no children of his own and, at 6 feet, 5 inches, he towers above the others. But that pales beside his resolve to ensure that San Francisco's public schools never sell students another empty calorie.


CA California PTA Stands Up for Healthy School Food - A resolution addressing the childhood obesity crisis, sponsored by the San Francisco PTA and called "Healthy Lifestyles for All Children," was approved by a majority of the 2,718 voting delegates at the California State PTA's 105th annual convention earlier this month in Long Beach, Calif. Total attendance at the convention, held May 3-6, was more than 5,400.


MI Bernero "Junk Food" Bill Gets 23 Co-sponsors - Michigan State Sen. Virg Bernero (D-Lansing) scored a minor political victory today when he introduced his "no junk food in schools" bill with 23 co-sponsors, including eight Republicans senators. That's the good news for him.


UK Study: Schools Cutting Soda Lower Obesity - School programs discouraging carbonated drinks appear to be effective in reducing obesity among children, a new study suggests — the first research to document that such programs work.


Childhood Obesity Crisis Inspires Ideas for Fundraising Without Food - With obesity reaching epidemic levels among children, schools nationwide are struggling with concerns about junk food sold on campus. Meanwhile, PTAs and other parent groups are beginning to worry about the amount of fundraising that involves selling sweets and other unhealthy foods. In response to those concerns, a free guide to non-food fundraising ideas is now available online.


MI Surgeon General Supports Junk Food Purge - "It's a tidal wave of garbage masquerading as lunch." - MI State Senator Virg Bernero Michigan Surgeon General Kimberly Dawn WISDOM said today she applauds Sen. Virg Bernero's (D-Lansing) effort to dump the Doritos and Twinkees from school cafeterias in favor of apples and carrot sticks.


FDA Orders Veal Producers to Stop Giving Calves Growth Hormones - The Food and Drug Administration, aiming to keep sex hormone supplements out of consumers' veal, is warning veal farmers to stop giving calves certain hormones to promote their growth.

U.S. Produce, Decoded - Those little stickers on fruits and vegetables at the supermarket aren't just for the checkout clerk to find the price. You can use the numbers to figure out how the produce you're buying has been grown. A sticker with four digits means the food was conventionally grown. Five digits starting with an 8 indicate genetically engineered produce (the food's genetic material has been altered), and five digits starting with a 9 means the food was organically grown (without the use of most conventional pesticides or synthetic fertilizers). Don't worry if you can't remove all the sticker adhesive - it's required to be safe to eat. [Source: Neena Samuel, Reader's Digest]


MI Bernero on Fat School Kids - Unsuccessful in his attempts to ban pop machines in schools, Sen. Virgil Bernero (D-Lansing) is back with a plan to limit the intake of fat on the school cafeteria line. "We have an obesity epidemic," complains Bernero, who will introduce legislation to outlaw all food containing more than eight grams of fat.


MI Bernero Preparing Bill to Tax Pop - Legislation that would tax bottled and canned soft drinks sold in grocery stores will be introduced shortly after the Legislature returns to session next week, said Sen. Virg Bernero (D-Lansing). The measure, if adopted, could raise as much as $100 million.


FL Pediatricians Push for Healthier School Food in Florida - Schools may sift out sugar; Proposal would add juice, cut soft drinks. Visit an area high school or middle school, and you’ll discover that the student body is getting super-sized.

WA Washington Post Column: Inundated With Junk Food at School - One regular feature of school mornings at our house involves what my wife and I like to call "the daily debate". The disputants are our two primary-school kids, and the issue is whether to have them order lunch in the cafeteria or for us to pack one instead.


CA Sale of Junk Food at School Banned - The Los Angeles Unified School District decided Tuesday to secede from Candyland. Its 713 campuses next year will be kicking out Twix, Snickers and M&Ms in favor of more healthful treats, such as nuts, baked chips, fruit snacks and pretzels.


CA Editorial: One School's Victory Over the Battle of the Bulge - Students at Aptos Middle School in San Francisco are not exactly celebrating that their school has been purged of unhealthy foods.
CA Editorial: Fast Food is King at Arroyo High - If You're a student at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, and you must have a Whopper, french fries and a Coke for lunch, you won't have to go far to satisfy your fast-food cravings.

IRELAND Girls Need Big Breakfast? - Girls need a more filling breakfast than boys if they are to do their best in school tests, according to researchers in Northern Ireland.


Parents, Officials Urged to Improve School Foods - Tool Kit Gives Advice for Replacing Soda & Junk Food with Healthier Drinks & Snacks. Parents, teachers, and school administrators should work to improve the nutritional quality of the meals, snacks, and drinks available to students, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The nutrition-advocacy group today released its School Foods Tool Kit—a comprehensive manual that provides practical advice for improving school foods.


Commentary: Fake Health Groups With Junk-food Ties - Knight-Ridder Newspapers' Washington Bureau is the latest victim of deception by paid advocates for the junk food industry masquerading as independent experts on diets. A recent K-R article quoted dietitian Dr. Susan Finn, chair of the benevolently-named American Council for Fitness and Nutrition insisting that junk-food-stocked vending machines in schools play no role in the child obesity crisis.


Vitamin D Deficiency in Teens Called Epidemic - In some ways, Leon Jordan is a pretty typical teenager -- he doesn't get much outdoor exercise, prefers movies and video games, and won't drink milk. Those habits contributed to a vitamin D deficiency that has helped weaken the 18-year-old's bones and left him prone to fractures.


CA San Francisco Schools Banish Junk Food - Students will soon say goodbye to snack bar lunches consisting of nachos or colossal hamburgers washed down with Cokes in bucket-sized containers. When school opens this week, San Francisco will begin implementing arguably the healthiest food regimen of any school district in the nation.


AZ Junk Food Ban Sought for Schools - The Arizona State Board of Education may ask school districts to voluntarily ban unhealthful food in an effort to combat childhood obesity. The board will discuss a proposal Monday that would prohibit schools from selling soda, gum and certain candies at school and school-sponsored events.


MD A Full Stomach Leads to Better Learning, Schools Say - More children than ever before are getting their breakfast and lunch at county public schools, thanks to a pair of programs that seek to ensure that no child has to go through the school day hungry.


TX Texas Becomes Sour on Sweets in School - Policy aims to reduce student obesity.


Wheat-less Wonder: Celiac Specialties of Chesterfield Twp. Serves Gluten-free Baked Goods for People with a Complex Food Allergy - Janet Armil is elated.  For the first time in more than seven years, she can walk into a bakery and buy anything she sees in the shop's well-stocked cases -- a coffee cake for the weekend, crunchy almond biscotti to dunk in coffee, rolls for sandwiches or an absolutely luscious carrot cake spread with cream cheese icing.


Schools Fixed on Seattle Suit Over Sodas - Local school systems are examining ways to offer more nutritious choices in their soda machines as a Seattle school board faces litigation over a soft-drink contract.


CA Junk Food Out, Profits in at San Francisco Middle School - At a time when lawsuits and controversy are shaking up the junk food industry, a San Francisco middle school cafeteria has replaced unhealthy menu items with wholesome choices -- and in the process has become one of the most profitable middle school cafeterias in the San Francisco Unified School District.


CA Editorial: Newspaper Wants Stronger Soda Ban - Sacramento Bee blasts California assembly committee for weakening school soda ban bill.


PA Advocates push for more healthy foods in schools - They cheered the move against soda in Philadelphia.


WA Seattle Schools Urged to Dump Coke - Seattle Public Schools should dump the Coca-Cola company or at least give the district's students options for buying healthy beverages. That's the message that more than a dozen area residents had for School Board members last night at a public hearing.


NY New York City Schools Banish Junk Food - New York City Cuts Back Fat and Sweets in School Meals.


Wall Street Journal: Embattled soda industry fights back with sugary "dairy drink." - New dairy drinks target teens.


CA California state Senate OK's school soda ban - Child advocates' crusade moves to Assembly.


U.S. Potato Chips, Cola, and Sweets, Oh My! - As the U.S. Congress prepares to do its first review of school-lunch legislation in five years, critics are charging that school lunch in the US is a mess --the only good news being that the way kids eat in school "is getting so bad that people are finally paying attention."


MI Bill Would Require Milk Vending Machines in Schools - "...the increased rate of obesity among adolescents and diabetes among children indicates students are drinking too much pop."


WA District may ban daytime sodas in middle schools - Soda-pop sales to middle-school students during the school day would be banned under a proposed extension of Coca-Cola's exclusive contract with the Seattle School District. 


Industry claims kids don’t drink much soda - The soft-drink industry vigorously promotes not just school vending machines but also controversial “pouring rights” contracts, under which a school or district sells one company’s products exclusively. "The school system is where you build brand loyalty," declared John Alm, president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola Enterprises, quoted in the April 6, 2003, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Get Rid of Junk Food in Your Kid's School - Download a free, online guide describing how parents can get rid of junk food in schools.


CA San Francisco Middle School Banishes Cafeteria Junk Food - Aptos Middle School is well under way on a pioneering pilot project to eliminate junk food sold at the school and replace it with healthy choices.  The changes have led to improved student behavior after lunch, teachers report, and revenues at the school's Beanery cafe have risen.


UK Too thirsty for knowledge - Pupils at Westdene bring water bottles to school.


Liquid Candy or Healthy Kids? - Children and teens have little defense against the lure of soft drink advertising. Despite published health risks of soda consumption, soft drink moguls like the Pepsi-Cola Group continue to grow and prosper. During recent years, soda companies have gained access to children attending public schools by entering into exclusive contract agreements with local school districts.


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