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ERIC Number: ED502405
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues. ERS Report Summary
Ralston, Katherine; Newman, Constance; Clauson, Annette; Guthrie, Joanne; Buzby, Jean
US Department of Agriculture
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is one of the largest food and nutrition assistance programs in the United States, feeding millions of children every day. School meal providers face the task of serving nutritious and appealing school lunches, including free and reduced-price lunches for low-income students, and doing so under budget constraints. This report is intended as a briefing for policymakers and other stakeholders on the history and basic features of the program. It also addresses steps being taken by school food authorities and USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in response to challenges faced by program administrators. One of the main goals of NSLP as identified by Congress is to promote the health and well-being of the nation's children. In recent years, questions have been raised about the program's ability to meet this goal, especially as the main nutrition problem has shifted from under-nutrition to overweight and obesity. Public concern for the program has focused on whether it is contributing to the growing problem of childhood obesity and on the quality of foods available to schoolchildren. In response, many States and localities have imposed stricter nutritional requirements on both NSLP meals and other foods and beverages available in the school. School meal providers wrestle with meeting these restrictions and other program requirements while covering rising costs and encouraging student participation. Meanwhile, issues at the Federal level include how to help school meal providers improve the nutritional quality of foods served as well as how to balance program access and integrity, particularly in regard to ensuring that ineligible students do not receive free or reduced-price lunches. [For associated report, see ED502404.]
US Department of Agriculture. 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250. Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Economic Research Service (USDA)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A