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Instructions:
As a public health nurse or advanced practice nurse, you will be able to advocate for vulnerable populations. The number of children living in or near poverty is increasing; often, the only meals children get are in school.
1. Read the document below about the 2017 Interim Final Rule for Child Nutrition Programs.
· Since the initial release of the new National School Lunch and National School Breakfast requirements, the USDA has made several allowances based on public comments and reported hardships. The Interim Final Rule (2017) gives flexibility for 3 types of foods or nutrients.
2. Then, conduct your own research on the Interim Final Rule.
· The news portrayed the interim rule as a “push-back” or “roll-back.” An internet search of these topics should generate news articles and opinions to review.
3. Finally, review the literature that pertains to child nutrition programs published since the USDA regulations were implemented.
Your post for this discussion will focus on the school nutrition regulations in general, and at least one of the three nutrients or foods that the 2017 Interim Final Rule addressed.

After conducting your research, answer the following questions:

· What is your opinion about the changes that the USDA has made to the federal school nutrition programs in schools over the past few years (because of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010)?
· What is your opinion about the continued flexibility and/or extension of flexibility with these regulations?
· You may comment on one, two, or all three of the foods/nutrients included in this rule.
· What can you do as a consumer and public health nurse to influence regulations pertaining to child nutrition programs?

Your initial post should be at least 400 words and supported with at least one additional scholarly source (no wikis or websites).

Please be sure to validate your opinions and ideas with citations and references in APA format.

Child Nutrition Programs
In 2017, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an Interim Final Rule entitled “Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements.”
This rule provided Child Nutrition Program operators with flexibility regarding three main program components:
Milk
Child Nutrition Programs can offer flavored, low fat (1% fat) milk. Prior to this rule, only fat-free or low-fat milk could be offered, and flavored milk could only be fat-free. This change allows for low-fat, flavored milk.

Schools do not have to provide proof of a reduction in milk intake or increase in wasted milk, to implement this option.
Grains
The rule extended an option to include grains that are not grain-rich in their weekly menu for the National School Lunch (NSL) and National School Breakfast (NSB) programs.
The initial requirement (2014-2015) was that all grains in the menu needed to be whole grains (at least 50% whole grains, with the rest of the product enriched). Because implementing this required was difficult, state agencies could provide exceptions to schools that requested them based on demonstrated hardship in procuring or preparing specific products that met criteria and were acceptable to students.
The final rule in 2017 extended the exceptions to schools until the 2018-2019 school year. State agencies must review and approve requests for exceptions from schools. Hardship in meeting the requirement must be documented and can be based on such things as lack of availability in the market, increase in plate waste, and lack of student acceptability.
Sodium
Retaining sodium Target 1. Decreases in the sodium content of school meals were to be achieved over 10 years, with Target 1 sodium level to start in 2014-2015, Target 2 to start in 2017-2018, and Target 3 to be achieved in 2022-2023.
Prior to this final rule, the USDA had approved retaining sodium level at Target 1 through 2017-2018. With this final rule, Target 1 was retained through the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
The flexibilities in this final rule are optional, allowing states and communities to serve their population in the best way. States and program operators may choose to use all, some, or none of the flexibilities in their schools.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2017). Child nutrition programs: flexibilities for milk, whole grains, and sodium requirement s7 CFR parts 2010, 215, 220 and 226. Federal Register, 82 (229).

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