East Carolina University dietetic internship program director Sylvia Escott-Stump met First Lady Michelle Obama Jan. 29 at an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics event in Fairfax County, Va.
Escott-Stump is president of the Academy, formerly known as the American Dietetic Association.
The First Lady and Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced new USDA regulations for healthy school lunches for American children at the event, held at Parklawn Elementary School.
Escott-Stump said, “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.”
“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,” Escott-Stump said.
New meal requirements include:
- Doubling the daily requirement for fruit and vegetables
- Increasing the offerings of whole grain-rich foods.
- Reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
- Limiting calories based on the age of children to ensure they receive proper portions of food.
- Allowing only no-fat or low-fat dairy products.
The nutrition standards will be phased in over three years.
President Barack Obama sought the changes because a third of U.S. children are overweight or obese, contributing to $3 billion in annual medical costs, according to the White House administration.
Costs will be offset in part by a reimbursement increase of 6 cents per meal — the first such increase in 30 years, said Kevin Concannon, the U.S. agriculture undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. Higher costs for a la carte items sold in cafeterias also will boost school revenue, he said.
ECU offers a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition science. For more information, visit the Department of Nutrition Science in the College of Human Ecology at www.ecu.edu/nutr. Learn more about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org. Learn more about the First Lady’s announcement of new USDA regulations for healthier school lunches at http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/25/3392116/school-lunches-get-an-update.html.