The U.S. Agriculture Department proposed the first broad standards for healthier school snacks on Friday. Under the rule, required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, most candy, sugar-filled sports drinks, and greasy foods would not be sold in school vending machines. Instead, they can offer snacks under 200 calories and low-calorie drinks.
Data supports a ban on unhealthy snacks in vending machines, showing that state regulations may have helped slow childhood obesity rates. However, the ban will not apply to food sold at after-school events or affect what kids bring in for lunch.
If passed, the proposal could go into effect as soon as 2014. First, it faces a 60 day comment period from proponents and critics. Taking backlash from Republican critics over its healthy school lunch rule, USDA modified standards in December to allow unlimited calories from meats and grains.