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September 10, 2010

 

DiNapoli: NYC DOE Makes Great Strides in Children's Nutrition


The New York City Department of Education (DoE) has made significant progress in correcting deficiencies in the DoE’s Office of School Food, which administers the School Meals Program, according to a report released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.  The report follows up a June 2009 DiNapoli audit which found that school food was contributing to childhood obesity.

“Selling junk food to kids on school grounds, when the state’s childhood obesity rate is over 25 percent, isn’t the best way to help kids stay healthy,” DiNapoli said. “DoE is doing a good job implementing my audit’s findings and improving the health of city students.  It’s a first step toward a healthier New York City.”

Last year’s audit found that junk food was routinely sold in city schools, undermining efforts to promote healthy eating habits among students. DiNapoli’s auditors found that school stores and vending machines at 20 of the 30 city schools visited sold candy, soda and other unhealthy snacks during lunch periods in direct violation of the Chancellor’s policies.

The audit recommended that DoE take action to immediately stop the sale of competitive foods in school stores and vending machines prior to the end of the last school lunch period. The audit recommended that DoE provide better oversight regarding the types of food sold at school stores and in vending machines. The audit also made recommendations aimed at improving DoE oversight and school compliance with required policies.

In implementing DiNapoli’s recommendations, the DoE:

  • Required staff  to only use menus approved by SchoolFood;
  • Prohibited the sale of unhealthy items from vending machines and school stores during the school day;
  • Installed timers to regulate when vending machines operate;
  • Established new contracts for vending machines that sell only nutritious snacks;
  • Modified SchoolFood listing of approved snack items to include the product serving size;
  • Established procedures for monitoring and reporting school compliance; and
  • Provide training for Principals and SchoolFood staff on the DoE’s Wellness Policy and the need to comply with the Policy.  

Click here for a copy of the report

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