Brentwood, NY - June 24, 2014 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone will join Brentwood School District administrators, students and health officials, to announce new guidelines that will ban junk food from vending machines in school buildings in Suffolk County and across the nation. The press conference will take place on Wednesday, June 25 at 11 AM at the Brentwood Sonderling High School.
The guidelines are a part of the U.S. Agriculture Department's "Smart Snacks in Schools" nutrition program. The program requires any food sold in public schools to meet calorie, fat, sugar and sodium limits. Snacks sold during school hours cannot exceed 200 calories and must contain whole grains or fruits, vegetables, dairy or protein.
According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6-11 in the U.S. who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. The percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 19 who were obese increased from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent over the same period of time.
Gone from vending machines will be Doritos, Pop-Tarts, cookies, Coca Cola and other sugar-filled drinks. Beginning with the new school year, those items will be replaced by granola bars, popcorn, fruit cups and calorie-free flavored water.
The Brentwood school district is the largest suburban district in New York State, with around 16,000 enrolled students attending eleven elementary and seven secondary schools.