With the start of the new school year, State Rep. Marty Walz (D-Boston) wants to let parents know about a new state law providing that only foods meeting established nutritional standards will be sold in public schools during school hours. This will result in more nutritious food being served in school cafeterias.
The new law, “An Act Relative to School Nutrition,” also encourages the use of local, fresh farm products in public schools, a requirement that will help students obtain healthy foods and strengthen the local farm economy. The law requires schools to make fresh fruits and vegetables available as snacks.
In addition, the state Department of Public Health and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will create guidelines for the training of school nurses on the issues of obesity, diabetes and eating disorders, three health issues that plague increasing numbers of students.
The law takes effect on Oct. 30, but school districts may implement it sooner than that.
“Good health leads to stronger educational outcomes,” said Walz, the Co-Chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education. “Healthier food being available during school hours will help students achieve their full potential in the classroom.”