In 2017, on just his sixth day in office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made chocolate milk safe for schools again, along with white flour and salt, in the name of “regulatory flexibility” for school food programs. On Thursday, the USDA said it will make those changes permanent.
Roughly 37 percent of U.S. adults eat fast food daily, says a CDC analysis of dietary data, but the rate is much higher for men and women aged 20-39 and for higher-income people. "Fast food consumption has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat, and sodium," says the CDC, which estimates adult Americans get 11 percent of their calories from fast food.
For Americans, gaining weight seems to go hand in hand with getting older; the obesity rate for adults is twice as high as the youth rate. And now, the CDC pegs the adult rate at nearly 40 percent, up 2 percentage points in two years and the highest rate ever, while the youth obesity rate rose to 18.5 percent, up by more than a point and also a record.
Some 124 million boys and girls around the world are obese, putting the children at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, said a team of researchers in the journal The Lancet. Obesity rates among youths ages 5-19 years are eight times higher today than they were in 1975 and exceed 20 percent in nations including the United States.
Timber Creek High School in Keller, Texas, opened a coffee bar that sells lattes, mochas and iced blended coffee drinks along with muffins and fruit cups to students, joining several other schools in the Forth Worth area that offer the caffeinated perk, reports the Star-Telegram. "We have a generation that drinks coffee," said a food-service manager for the Keller schools who oversees the coffee shop.
Obesity continues to rise in the United States, with rates now exceeding 35 percent in five states, compared to four states in the previous year. But there are signs that adult rates are leveling off, says the annual State of Obesity report. Rates are holding steady in more states and for the second year in a row, at least one state showed a decline.
The anti-obesity Alliance for a Healthier Generation named 323 schools across the country as "America's healthiest schools," based on offering healthy school meals and ensuring physical activity each day. Nearly half of the schools were from Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona. "Schools earned the distinction by successfully meeting a rigorous set of criteria for serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality physical and health education, and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models," said the alliance.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue mixed humor, keen political rhetoric and "a fiercely unapologetic tone" as he explained why he ordered a slow down in USDA school food rules in one of his first decisions in office, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Perdue defended the decision during a speech to the School Nutrition Association, which represents school food directors.
On a 7-1 vote, the Seattle City Council approved a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on sugary beverages, such as soda, sports drinks and energy drinks, said the Post Intelligencer. "Supporters hope the tax will help fund educational programs and close the learning gap between white students and students of color, while also curbing consumption of unhealthy sugary beverages."
One in five adults in the industrialized world is obese and nearly one in six children is overweight or obese, says a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The report also projects “a steady increase in obesity rates until at least 2030.”