Thanks to the support and encouragement of our grassroots advocates, the S.C. House and Senate passed the Healthy Food in Schools Bill (S 484), and Governor Haley signed it into law. Sponsored by State Senator Katrina Shealy, the legislation will help schools, parents and communities play an active role in school nutrition and healthy choices for students.
We know that creating a healthy school food environment is critically important in South Carolina, which has the second highest obesity rate in the United States for youth ages 10 to 17. Many children consume up to half their daily calories at school. Promoting healthy food in schools is a win-win for schools and kids because healthy kids are better learners.
The legislation has two components:
- Update South Carolina’s nutrition standards to meet those set by the USDA and ensure they are regularly updated with the USDA guidelines. Doing this gives all students throughout the state equal access to healthy foods and helps prevent and address disparities.
- Require all schools to report on compliance in existing school health improvement plans. Making this information public allows the community to understand how schools are meeting nutrition standards.
According to a survey of S.C. parents last fall, 77% of parents said they support national standards for schools meals. Additionally, 75% support standards for snacks in schools; 82% are concerned about the state of children’s health; and 79% are concerned about childhood obesity.
Here are just a few examples of innovative programs ensuring that South Carolina kids have healthy options during the school day: