News Update: IOM releases new guidelines for school meals

November 1, 2009

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released new recommendations for school meal programs, setting maximum calorie levels for breakfast and lunch and recommending that the sodium content of meals should be gradually reduced over the next 10 years.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released new recommendations for school meal programs in its report School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children. The IOM set maximum calorie levels for breakfast and lunch and recommended that the sodium content of meals should be gradually reduced over the next 10 years. The IOM also recommended an increase in the amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads in school meals, as well as the use of nonfat or 1% milk rather than 2% or whole milk.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) supports these new recommendations. ADA spokesperson Malena Perdomo said, "The IOM's positive and progressive recommendations are very much in keeping with those that the American Dietetic Association has been making for a number of years to improve school meal quality. This report represents a large step toward achieving healthier eating goals for our children in schools."

Approximately 30.6 million US schoolchildren participated daily in the school lunch program in 2007, according to IOM figures. Additionally, 10.1 million children participated in the school breakfast program.