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"Des Moines Public Schools cracks down on sugar in school meals"

Des Moines schools are doing their part to cut down on Iowa's obesity rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 36.4 percent of adult Iowans are obese.

Obesity affects 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the United States.

Amanda Miller, Des Moines Public Schools director of food and nutrition management, said the school district is aware of the growing trend of growing waistlines in the U.S. "We want to make sure we're providing access to healthy nutritious meals to as many students as we can possibly can," Miller said.

Miller said the school district is cutting down sugar and bumping up fruits and vegetables in the 2019-2020 school year. "We've really listened to some parents that have been big advocates and we've decreased sugar in our breakfast in the classroom program," She said. "We have increased fresh vegetables (and) fresh fruit."

Just before the start of the 2019, the Trump administration scaled school lunch standards implemented under the Obama administration, including one that required only whole grains be served. Miller said Des Moines Public Schools chose to stay the course.

"I just think it's the best for our kids if we continue on the path that we're on," she said.

Nutrition grant specialist Jen Ransom said she agrees.

"It's unfortunate, too, that we're becoming a very heavy state," Ransom said. "What I would say is the kids see what the parents do at home." While it is important that students have healthy food options at school, Ransom said it is equally as important that they have healthy options at home. "Have a bowl of your fruits and vegetables that the kids, when they come home, they know that is where they take their snack from," she said.

Des Moines Public Schools said its mobile app includes a feature that allows parents and students to track what is in school meals.


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