District putting new junk-food rules on the table

Soda to be phased out; other food guidelines to be discussed Aug. 15

Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2006

After nearly two years the Juneau School District has a nutrition policy on its plate.

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The School Board voted Tuesday night to adopt a new food service program policy and a student nutrition and physical activity policy.

The board is scheduled to decide Aug. 15 some of the specifics of how much fried food, sugar and other non-nutritious food will be available to students on campus, Superintendent Peggy Cowan said.

The nutrition regulations at Juneau-Douglas High School and Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School will not be in place as quickly as the elementary and middle school regulations, Cowan said.

"There will be a phase-in to allow the high school students to have some input on what will be served and included," she said. "But pop will be phased-out, and they will not be allowed to have pop during school hours."

Students will still be allowed to purchase food and beverages off campus even though they do not meet the standards of the nutrition policy.

The policies came to life after a recommendation to adopt nutrition standards from a district action team focusing on healthy attitudes and behaviors in the spring of 2004. After working on a nutrition policy through a committee of district and community members last year, new federal government requirements called for all districts to have a wellness and nutritional plan in place by the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year.

Although the policy has been adopted, Cowan said the regulations have not been solidified.

"The policy is adopted by the School Board and is a broader document that basically gives direction, sets the philosophy and sets the goals and allows the board to adopt its intent," Cowan said. "The administrative (regulations) are the more detailed things to support and direct the goals and gives sort of management specifics of ways to implement the policy."

Cowan said one of the biggest things parents and students will notice about the policy change will be the amount of information provided from the district on nutrition and physical activity.

Cowan said there has been a lot of feedback over the nearly two years it took to adopt the policy. She said some were concerned the policy and its regulations would be too restrictive, while others thought it would not be restrictive enough on food considered unhealthy.

"I think it's a good compromise," Cowan said.

She said the district and the School Board are committed to making the nutrition policy beneficial for the students.

"They are committed to healthy students and understand that good health and physical activity and good food increases students' quality of life and also makes them better learners," Cowan said.

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