The USDA Considers Implementing Healthy Meals for Children in Daycares to Fight Childhood Obesity

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The Child and Adult Care Food Program wants to add more vegetables and cut back on sugar

The USDA is proposing that children in daycare should eat more vegetables and less sugar.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may soon make meals healthier for low-income children at day cares, according to The Associated Press.

Childhood obesity is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight preschoolers from low-income families are obese. The USDA is proposing that dietary changes should be made to lower these numbers.

The program would add more vegetables to day care menus and cut back on sugar from goods like cookies, cakes, and grain-based desserts. Children under the age of 1 would not be given desserts.

Day care providers are reimbursed by the CACFP for feeding children, but with the USDA’s proposals, the providers would not be reimbursed if they serve deep-fried foods. Prepackaged fried foods like chicken nuggets would still be OK, although they would not be recommended.

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The CACFP provides food for 3.8 million children. The organization also feeds children in emergency shelters and pays for afterschool meals or snacks in areas where at least half of the students meet the requirements for a free or reduced lunch.