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January 4, 2016

Successes of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
  • 2Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
  • 3College of Education, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(1):e154268. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4268

December 2015 marked the fifth anniversary of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA),1 which is arguably one of the most important pieces of US federal legislation regarding child health in many years and, in part, led to tremendous changes to the school food environment. Because of the HHFKA, foods served as part of the National School Lunch Program were dramatically changed in 2012. This represented the first major change to school meals in 15 years. The lunch meal pattern changes, which align with the Dietary Guidelines of 2010, included grade-specific calorie/portion size specifications (including calorie maximums, not just minimums), increased amounts of fruits and vegetables served, only whole-grain–rich grains, no whole milk, and reductions in sodium. Three years after the implementation of these meal pattern changes, research examining the impact is accumulating, with the article by Johnson and colleagues2 in this issue of JAMA Pediatrics adding to this growing body of literature.

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