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Philadelphia takes on obesity epidemic

by Policy in Practice on March 28, 2011

Philadelphia, with one of the more challenging child obesity issues in the country, is tackling the problem head on, the New York Times reports.

The Agriculture Department wants to change the content of federally subsidized school meals — 33 million lunches and 9 million breakfasts a day — by the fall of 2012. Beyond the calorie cap, the new standards would emphasize whole grains, vegetables and fruits and set tighter limits on sodium and fats.

“This will mean a huge shift in school meals,” said Margo G. Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group.

Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the Philadelphia School District, said schools were meeting the new federal meal proposals by using more dark green and orange vegetables, as well as fruits, whole grains and legumes.