You may have seen articles floating around social media talking about whether or not President Donald Trump's administration is going to ease healthy school lunch regulations. Our Verify Team wanted to determine if this is true, how regulations are going to be affected, and what that could mean for your kids.
In 2010, former First Lady Michelle Obama worked to establish strict nutritional standards as part of her push for healthy kids Let's Move Program. It was part of her campaign against obesity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children with obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about 1-in-5 children between the ages 6 to 9 has obesity.
Child obesity has immediate and long-term impacts on physical, social and emotional health, such as asthma, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Kids who are obese tend to be bullied and teased more, which could also lead to social isolation, depression and lower self-esteem.
Our sources include documents from the Department of Agriculture and Sonny Perdue, who leads the USDA. Upon digging, we have verified that the claim is true that the Trump Administration is giving schools more power when it comes to what they serve during lunch.
The three things that are in question are the regulations about whole grains, sodium and milk.
Currently, all grains served to students must be whole-grain. According to an announcement Monday, schools are experiencing challenges meeting this standard so starting the next school year, the USDA is allowing states to grant exceptions to schools that are having a hard time meeting the standard.
Next, we looked at sodium regulations, or salt.
Schools were suppose to head to "Target 2" next year, which is less sodium than what's served today and it would have lowered sodium content by about 300 milligrams for each grade level. But the new regulations say they can stay at "Target 1."
As for milk: Milk must be fat-free whether it's flavored or not. One percent low-fat milk has to be unflavored. The new regulation would allow 1% flavored milk, meaning chocolate and strawberry milk will be allowed through the schools' meal programs.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Sonny Perdue, who leads the USDA