Faculty Publications – College of Science and Health


Society of Behavioral Medicine position statement: retain school meal standards and healthy school lunches

Document Type


Publication Date



n 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) altered nutrition standards in the U.S. National School Lunch Program in an attempt to promote healthy eating and improve children’s overall health. However, it was reported that these nutrition standard changes were leading to lower consumption of meals and an increase in plate waste. Initial research was unable to validate these reports. Despite these unsubstantiated claims, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a proposal to roll back some of the nutritional standards implemented by the HHFKA in 2017. An exploration of the current literature uncovered several new studies that further support the updated meal standards outlined in the HHFKA. Identifying and reviewing these studies was the aim of the current brief. Several new studies found that the implementation of the HHFKA standards led to healthier meals, increased fruit consumption, lower plate waste, and reductions in sodium and calories from saturated fats, to name a few. Given the continued evidence that the HHFKA standards improve dietary quality of school meals, policymakers, schools, and stakeholders are urged to continue to support the retention of the new meal standards.