Farewell, Candy, Cookies, and Cheese Puffs! 2014 Federal School Snack Restrictions

What snack foods can children eat at school?  The Agriculture Department has announced Thursday, June 27, 2013, that there will be restrictions on what types of snacks schools can sell. Students will no longer be able to fill up on trans fats that are found in greasy pizzas, high-fat chips and snacks, and sugars found in ice cream treats, cookies, juice drinks, high-calorie sodas, snack cakes and sports drinks, and salty pretzels or chips.

School Snack Restrictions

The federal government announced school snack restrictions on June 27, 2013 for the 2014-15 school year.

The governments new standards for healthier snack  foods in schools would apply to all the “a la carte” lines in the school cafeterias, vending machines, snack bars or any other food sold at school and on the school campus grounds.  It would not apply to fundraisers, after school  class parties or foods brought from home to the school.

According to the federal guidelines, acceptable snack items include:

  1. Baked potato chips
  2. Granola bars
  3. Cereal bars
  4. Trail mix
  5. Dried fruits
  6. Fruit cups
  7. Yogurt
  8. Sugarless gum
  9. Whole grain-rich muffins
  10. 100 percent fruit juice drinks
  11. Diet soda (high schools)
  12. Flavored water (high schools)
  13. Diet sports drinks (high schools)
  14. Unsweetened or diet iced teas (high schools)
  15. Baked lower-fat french fries
  16. Healthier pizzas with whole grain crust
  17. Lean hamburgers with whole wheat buns

Snack food that are not acceptable include:

  1. Candy
  2. Snack cakes
  3. Most cookies
  4. Pretzels
  5. High-calorie sodas
  6. High-calorie sports drinks
  7. Juice drinks that are not 100 % juice
  8. Most ice cream and ice cream treats
  9. High-fat chips and snacks
  10. Greasy pizza
  11. Deep-fried, high-fat foods

The federal snack rules will take effect during the 2014-2015 school year, but schools can start earlier to put these restrictions into effect. Many schools already have been making improvements. Thirty-nine states have a snack food policy.

In 2010 Congress passed the law championed by first lady Michelle Obama as a part of her efforts to stop childhood obesity, requiring the Agriculture Department to make changes in the rules describing acceptable school offered snacks. Several companies in the food industry worked with Congress three years ago on the child nutrition law.

Differences exist between high school and elementary or middle school regulations on appropriate snacks.  Low-calorie sports drinks such as Gatorade’s G2, and diet drinks will be allowed in high school.  However, elementary and middle schools will only be permitted to sell water, carbonated water, 100 percent fruit juice, 100 percent vegetable juice,  nonfat flavored milk, and low fat and fat-free milk.

Teens Not Physically Fit – New Study Reveals

Are our teens getting enough exercise? Do they eat a healthy diet?

A recent research study from the National Institute of Health shows that only 50%, nearly half, of all adolescents in the United States are participating in physical activities five or more days a week and only one out of every four adolescents eat fruits and vegetables every day.


Adolescent Health Fitness.jpg

A study from the National Institute of Health showed teenagers engage in limited physical activity and a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables. Click, copy, download, save and share.

The survey studied 10,000 students from 39 different states ranging from eleven to sixteen years of age.  Students were questioned about their daily physical activity, the amount of time that they spent using a computer or watched television, their emotional and psychological health,  and their diet and nutritional habits.  Researchers determined if their was a correlation between emotional health and physical activity.


Researchers determined that only one in every four adolescents (25%)  were demonstrating healthy patterns of high physical activity combined with eating lots of fruits and vegetables and lower intake of snack foods. Those who were exhibiting healthy life-style patterns also were more healthy emotionally and psychologically.

Nearly half, 47% of the teenagers were engaging in a small amount of physical activity and consumed a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Ann M. Davis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Kansas Medical Center said that teenagers today are “extremely sedentary and they have terrible diets for a variety of reasons.”

“Unhealthful” students comprised about 26% of those surveyed, and tended to spend most of their time in front of the computer, eating more sugary snacks and less fruits and vegetables than others, and were most likely to be underweight and have symptoms of depression.  Early unhealthy lifestyles can lead to heart disease, depression, high cholesterol, obesity and other serious health problems later in life.

Of the 27% who were determined to be “healthful students,” nearly 65% reported exercising more than five days a week, and least likely to spend significant time in front of computer screens or to eat sweets, soft drinks and packaged snack foods that are high in trans fats.


Children naturally like to move and be physically involved. Parents can help by turning off the television, limiting computer access, or arranging for and scheduling physical activities such as swimming, tennis, basketball, dance, etc.  Parents can remove packaged foods and sugary snacks and soft drinks from the home and replace them with organic healthy foods such 100% fruit juices, fresh fruits and vegetables, and raw nuts.  Parents are role models and by changing their lifestyles and diets, they can encourage and prevent children and adolescents from having serious health problems as adults.  However, this must start at an early age so that when children become older teens and young adults they will make wise, healthy choices.

Stop Childhood Obesity!

Stop Childhood Obesity

Has childhood obesity improved? What are the current statistics? How do we stop? Click, copy, download, and share.

Is childhood obesity improving?  What do recent research studies tell us about obesity in children? What can parents do to help?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, obesity is defined as a condition characterized by “the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese
  • Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat
  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

Recent childhood obesity research is encouraging.  A  recent long-term, nine year study conducted from 2003 – 2011, focused on poor, preschool children, ages three – four years of age.  Two cities were targeted in the United States – New York and Los Angeles.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention childhood obesity study showed that a decrease in childhood obesity occurred in New York during the nine year period from about 19%- 16% of the preschoolers.  But in Los Angeles obesity rose from 17% – more than 21% over the nine-year period,, then dropped to 20%.    Why would there be an increase in childhood obesity in Los Angeles and a decrease in New York?

Overweight ChildrenOne reason researchers believe there is such a difference is that statistics show that throughout the United States obesity rates are much higher in Mexican-American children than in African-American or Caucasian children, and there are more Mexican-American children in California.  Children in the study were enrolled in WIC (Women Infant Children) program, providing food vouchers and services to needy families.  The number of children enrolled in the program varied each year with as many as 67,000 in New York City and 150,000 in Los Angeles.  Other studies in Philadelphia, Anchorage, and Kearney, Nebraska also reported decreases in childhood obesity.

4 children obesity
Obesity can result in serious health problems and increase the risk of chronic or fatal health conditions as a child or an adult, including

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • stroke
  • several types of cancer
  • osteoarthritis
  • bone and joint problems
  • sleep apnea
  • social and psychological problems
  • metabolic syndrome
  • high blood pressure

Healthy childrenParents and schools need to play an active role in educating children about the serious consequences and dangers of childhood obesity.  Parents must determine if their child is overweight and promote a healthy lifestyle.  Teach children the importance of a daily exercise routine.  Provide fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and remove packaged foods from the home that are high in trans fats, cholesterol, and sugar.

Together we can educate and awaken awareness on childhood obesity prevention.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – “Obesity Prevalence Among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children — New York City and Los Angeles County, 2003–2011”
Stanford Hospital – “Health Effects of Obesity”
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – “What Are the Health Risks of Obesity?”
Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

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