August 7, 2012
Georgia students will be seeing more fruits and vegetables this year.
Students will see a lot more fruits and vegetables on their plate this academic year. It's the biggest push toward healthy eating since federal subsidized lunch programs began in the 1940's.
It's a big change from years past. Kids will be served two and a half cups of fruit per week and nearly 4 cups of vegetables. That change is part of new federal rules to limit calories and improve nutrition.
Says School Nutrition Director Joyce Akins: "The need for this new meal pattern is just, it's just so important. There's so much child obesity now, the rates are just sky high."
Georgia has the second highest childhood obesity rate in the country. Nearly 40 percent of the state's children are overweight or obese. That's according to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"Unfortunately students are addicted to sugars and high complex carbohydrates and synthetic foods that are not healthy. They're showing that the level of diabetes and heart disease in people in their early 30's and 40's is a result of what they're not getting when they're younger," says David Hayashi owner The Main Squeeze.
The federal government is not just trying to institute new rules...If schools can document and prove that they're meeting the new standards they have a chance to get something back.
Says Akins: "We'll get an additional six cents reimbursement for each plate that we serve."
These new rules became effective July first of this year. In addition to more fruits and vegetables schools will be required to serve one percent or nonfat milk.