Omidi Brothers Support New School Snack Regulations as a Good Step Toward Better Children’s Health

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Children’s Obesity Fund co-founders, Dr. Michael Omidi and Julian Omidi are happy to see the U.S. government’s new guidelines for snack foods in school vending machines, believing they will go a long way to help curb childhood obesity.

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Julian Omidi and Dr. Michael Omidi, co-founders of the Children’s Obesity Fund, support the new Smart Snacks in School program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Late last month, the program instituted a new set of federal nutritional standards calling for chips, sugary soft drinks, cookies, and candy bars to no longer be available in public schools.

As recently reported in a Los Angeles Times newspaper article titled "USDA releases new school snack standards: Doughnuts, cookies out" on June 28th, 2013 (http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/28/science/la-sci-sn-snack-foods-sold-at-school-20130628), public schools across the country will have to comply with new standards for snacks sold on their campuses beginning in the 2014-15 school year. Processed foods that previously occupied space in school vending machines will be replaced with baked chips, granola bars, trail mix and snacks that contain a vegetable, fruit, protein or dairy as its first ingredient. Snacks that consist of one quarter or more total volume of fruits or vegetables are also permitted.

“Schools exist so that children can learn and better themselves,” says Julian Omidi, co-founder of the Children’s Obesity Fund. “We should treat kids’ bodies just as respectfully as we treat their minds. Schools don’t let students sit around and watch cartoons all day, so they shouldn’t feed them junk, either.”

Not all of the recommended new snacks are 100 percent wholesome, however, there is nutritional value in most of them. Trail mix, for example, is calorie dense, but contains dried fruits and nuts, which are rich in antioxidants, protein and whole grains. While certain foods are not allowable for sale on school grounds, children are nonetheless free to bring whatever snacks they choose from home for their lunches. Also, bake sales are not affected.

“Nutritional guidelines must be consistent in both the home and schools if we are to succeed in reversing the obesity trend. When a child can get bag after bag of fatty and sugary snacks at school, then any family efforts to promote healthy food choices are thwarted,” says Dr. Michael Omidi, co-founder of the Children’s Obesity Fund. “If our goal is to protect the health of our children, then why wouldn't we start by taking away the things that cause them harm?”

The new standards, introduced in June 2013 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, are detailed on the USDA website at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/legislation/allfoods.htm. The USDA is committed to working with students, parents, school administrators, and the food and beverage industries to implement the new guidelines which will make it easier for America’s young people to make healthy choices.

Co-founded by Julian Omidi and Dr. Michael Omidi, the Children’s Obesity Fund (http://www.childrensobesityfund.org) hopes to help reverse the trend of rising obesity rates in America. The goal of the non-profit charity is to help people fully understand the obesity issue and its dire impacts on individuals and society as a whole -- and to use that knowledge to encourage children to grow up strong and healthy. Children’s Obesity Fund partners with other organizations to educate and support parents, educators and others so that we can all work together to raise healthy, active, social, and happy children. While the organization does not accept donations, it does encourage direct contributions of money and talents to the associations featured on our website. Children’s Obesity Fund is on Facebook as well as Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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