Local schools favor calorie counts

Lisa Yates @Lisa_editor

Starting in 2013, vending machines and restaurant chains with 20 or more locations are planning to post calorie information. Sugary soft drinks have been long blamed in part for America's growing obesity problem, and some health advocates believe posting calorie information will have a positive impact on the country's collective waistline. What do local school officials think of the change?

Leuna Johnson, MBA, SNS, Child Nutrition Program Supervisor for schools in Ascension Parish, said she agrees that posting the caloric information will have a positive impact on obesity.

"People that are informed make better choices," she said. "If the amount of calories is posted, regardless if the person is overweight or not, a healthier option can be selected."

Johnson said posting this info on vending machines in the schools will make a positive difference.

"Items offered in school vending machines are already regulated by the state but the more information the better," she said. "Students need to be conscious of the amount of calories they consume on a daily basis."

As a result of newly implemented USDA regulations, Johnson said school lunch offerings have changed tremendously in the past year.

"Just to name a few improvements, the servings and serving sizes of fruits and vegetables have drastically increased, the fat content of milk choices has decreased and the whole grain content of our overall menus has increased," she said.