Published: February 2023

Publisher: Healthy Eating Research

Authors: Miller L, Lott M, Story M

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The national school breakfast and lunch programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are cornerstone federal nutrition assistance programs. School meals are one of the healthiest sources of foods for school-age children, which is significant as some children receive up to half of their daily calories at school. Policy opportunities in 2023 could align school meal nutrition standards with the 2020-2025 DGA. Healthy Eating Research conducted a Rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to better understand how these changes may impact the nutritional quality of school meals and school meal participation and the impact of meal consumption on students’ health and academic performance. This report follows a Rapid HIA conducted by HER in 2020 on a USDA-proposed rule to roll back many of the school meal nutrition standards at that time. This HIA is intended to connect existing research on school nutrition and health with the potential policy changes forthcoming from USDA that would align the school meal nutrition standards with the 2020-2025 DGA. Specifically, this Rapid HIA examines the potential impacts of changes to the nutritional quality of school meals on school meal participation, student dietary consumption, students’ health and wellbeing, and academic performance.

Download the Full Report here.

Download the Executive Summary for a summary of key findings.

Read the Press Release. 

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