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New Healthier Rules for School Snacks Proposed

Michael Kraus

So long, Snickers! If a new government proposal passes, schools will be saying goodbye to sugary drinks and fatty snacks, reports the Associated Press.

Under the new guidelines, high-calorie goodies would be replaced in schools by snacks that are mostly under 200 calories. In elementary and middle schools, kids would only be able to buy low-fat milk, water or 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice.  High schools could still sell some sports drinks, but with limited calories.

 The new standards are part of a 2010 Congressional law and are an initiative to fight childhood obesity, which has exploded over the past few decades. 7.3% of boys and 5.5% of girls can be classified as extremely obese, according to a recent Kaiser Permanente report. Obese kids are at greater risk for diseases that affected only adults in the past, like high blood pressure, joint paint and type-2 diabetes.

Plus: 7 Healthy School Lunches

Although there are rules that currently regulate government-subsidized school breakfasts and lunches, cafeterias can still have "a la carte" options that fall outside those parameters. "USDA's proposed nutrition standards are a critical step in closing that loophole and in ensuring that our schools are places that nurture not just the minds of American children, but their bodies as well," Sen. Tom Harkin told the Associated Press.

The new rules would cover la carte lunch lines, vending machines and other foods sold on-campus, reports the Associated Press.  They wouldn’t regulate food sold by concessions at after-school games and theater events, in-school bake sales and fundraisers, and food brought from home. The 2014 school year is the earliest the new rules could take effect

Margo Wootan, a nutrition lobbyist for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Associated Press that surveys done by the Center show that most parents want to see change in the cafeteria. "Parents aren't going to have to worry that kids are using their lunch money to buy candy bars and a Gatorade instead of a healthy school lunch," she said.

Plus: The Sorry State of School Lunches

 Do you think these types of snacks should be taken out of school, or does the proposed new law go too far? Leave a comment.