CHICAGO, Jan. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) strongly supports the new U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations for meal patterns in schools announced today by First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"Given the realities of federal, state and local budgets, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to leading the creative collaborations that will be needed to implement changes in school food programs," said registered dietitian and Academy President Sylvia A. Escott-Stump.
"Children deserve our best efforts to provide them with good nutrition, and school nutrition directors across the country – many of whom are registered dietitians and Academy members – are already serving healthy, delicious meals to our children. The meal standards announced today will support their ongoing efforts and ensure continuous improvement in the meals they are served," Escott-Stump said.
The new regulations were announced at an elementary school in the Fairfax County, Va., system, where Academy member and registered dietitian Penny E. McConnell is the award-winning director of food and nutrition services.
School nutrition is a top priority for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy has three official positions on crucial aspects of children's nutrition and health: Comprehensive School Nutrition Services, Benchmarks for Nutrition in Child Care and Local Support for Nutrition Integrity in Schools.
"More than 1,200 Academy members belong to our School Nutrition Services practice group," Escott-Stump said. "These dedicated members are employed in child nutrition programs at the local, state and national levels; as researchers and educators; as corporate dietitians supplying products and services to school foodservice operations; as consultants in school nutrition and wellness; and in other fields where they help create healthier school environments."
The Academy submitted comments on the proposed standards, which were taken into consideration by the USDA, and works closely with the USDA staff as a supportive partner in its efforts to help all Americans eat well. Furthermore, several Academy members who work at USDA were instrumental in authoring the guidelines.
"The Academy and our members will help lead the implementation of the changes to meal standards," Escott- Stump said. "In fact, many of our members have already implemented them in their schools, introducing students to tasty meals and healthy food choices. They are on the forefront in addressing childhood obesity and food insecurity."
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.
SOURCE Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics