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Examiner
  • School officials unsure if calorie counts will help students make better choices

  • McDonald's has already started putting calorie counts on its menus and soon, that same information will be seen on the side of beverage machines.

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  • McDonald's has already started putting calorie counts on its menus and soon, that same information will be seen on the side of beverage machines.
    But will posting this information really make a difference to the younger population that purchases these drinks that are both high in sugar and calories?
    "I believe that nutritional information is always a good thing for students and staff to be provided with," said Marc Snow, assistant superintendent of finance and support services for the Grain Valley School District. "For some, it will no doubt make a difference in what they choose to eat. For many, though, I believe they will eat what they want to eat regardless of the information provided."
    Since the adoption of the 2010 Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act, school districts are required to think more about what they serve their students for lunch, specifically the amount of fat and calories in each item.
    Districts must offer fruit and vegetables and whole grain options are now a staple in school lunches. Portion sizes are also more closely monitored. If districts do not meet these requirements, they will not be reimbursed for meals through the National School Lunch Program.
    Eastern Jackson County school districts have been making changes slowly over the last few years, including removing high-sugar foods and replacing them with healthier options. Several years ago, the Fort Osage and Independence school districts began overhauling its beverage machines, replacing some of the soda with water and low-calorie juice drinks.
    Snow said he understands the concept of providing the nutrition information.
    "If providing nutritional information and encouraging healthy eating can help someone make a healthy choice, then mission accomplished," he said. "On a personal note, I think the government needs to be careful to not cross the line of encouraging healthy eating, to mandating what should be a personal choice for people."
     

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