ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
CANCER
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Keep Stress Off the Holiday Meal Menu, Expert Advises
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
EYE CARE, VISION
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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School Meals Need to Get Healthier

(HealthDay News) -- New guidelines are needed to improve the diets of U.S. school children, finds a new government report that would set maximum calorie counts for school breakfasts and lunches.

School meals should have less salt; more vegetables, fruits and whole grains; skim and low-fat milk, and other dairy products, the report from the Institute of Medicine says. It called on the federally funded National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program to update its current policies.

"The program was due for a revision," said IOM committee chairwoman Dr. Virginia A. Stallings, a professor and director of the Nutrition Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The committee's job was to make recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the school meal program, Stallings said. "We expect that they will take this information and revise the program," she said.

"These recommendations will become regulations, and schools are required to follow them if they are going to get reimbursed for school meals," she said.

The IOM recommendations would bring school meals in line with the latest dietary guidelines and reference intakes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The current standards for school meals are based on the 1995 dietary guidelines and the 1989 recommended dietary allowances.

Increased funding will be needed to implement the changes because of the higher cost of vegetables and whole-grain foods, the report noted. Also, greater federal meal reimbursement, capital investment and additional training of food service personnel will be required for the recommendations to succeed.

But these changes are needed to assure parents that schools are providing healthful, satisfying meals, Stallings said.

"The school meal programs were established when we were worried about children being hungry and undernourished," she said. "Now we have to worry both about that safety net for children who may not have enough food, but also balance it with a food supply that will prevent the school meals from contributing to the obesity problem."

In the past, there had only been a minimum calorie amount, Stallings said. "What the committee is now recommending is a minimum and a maximum," she said.

The report on healthy school meals suggests lunches contain no more than 650 calories for students in grades kindergarten through five; 700 calories for children in grades six to eight, and 850 for those in grades nine to 12. Breakfast calories should not exceed 500, 550 and 600, respectively, for these grade groups.

To ease the adjustment to lower salt meals, the report calls for reducing sodium over the next decade from today's average of 1,600 milligrams per lunch to 740 milligrams.

In addition, breakfasts should contain one cup of fruit, and lunches for grades nine to 12 should also contain one cup of fruit. No more than half of the fruit should come from juice, the report says.

Vegetable offerings should increase to three-quarters of a cup a day for grades kindergarten through eight, and one cup a day for grades nine to 12. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, should be served less often, and at least half a cup each of green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables and legumes should be provided each week, the report said.

For grains, half of the breads and pasta should be whole grain, Stallings said. Milk served with school meals should be skim or 1 percent fat, she added.

Meat with lunches should be kept to about two ounces for all grades, but can be higher for students in high school. For breakfast, meat should be kept to about one ounce a day for children in kindergarten through grade eight, and two ounces for high school students, the report noted.

The National School Lunch Program is available in 99 percent of U.S. public schools and in 83 percent of private and public schools combined. The School Breakfast Program is available in 85 percent of public schools.

About 30.6 million school children participated in the school lunch program in 2007, and 10.1 million children had school breakfasts. In 2007, schools in the program served about 5.1 billion lunches and 1.7 billion breakfasts, according to the report.

Stallings hopes the recommendations will filter down to the meals parents serve at home. "I do believe that parents will be able to use some of this to talk about the kinds of fruits and vegetables they should be serving at home and other recommendations that are easily implemented, like going to skim or low-fat milk and thinking about sodium both in cooking and table salt," she said.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said "this update to school nutrition standards is timely, and most welcome."

School nutrition standards were originally devised to protect children from malnutrition and want, Katz noted.

"But in an age of epidemic childhood obesity, when children are far more likely to get too many calories than too few, and when more and more succumb to what was called 'adult onset' diabetes just a generation ago, the time-honored school food standards are clearly obsolete," he said.

SOURCES: Virginia A. Stallings, M.D., Jean A. Cortner Endowed Chair, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, director, Nutrition Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Oct. 20, 2009, Institute of Medicine, report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children