Healthy eating is a key part of overall health and wellness. Healthy eating provides the nutrients and energy needed for growth and development. Proper nutrition helps prevent obesity. It also helps prevent many health problems, such as anemia, heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Proper nutrition is also important because it promotes learning and academic achievement.
Studies have shown that certain nutrients in healthy foods help cognitive performance; missing breakfast is linked to lower performance in school; and participating in school breakfast programs is linked to increased learning and academic achievement, improved attention, and decreased behavioral problems.
School nutrition services provide access to a variety of nutritious meals that accommodate the health and nutrition needs of all students. Rhode Island state law mandates that all public schools make lunches and breakfasts available to all students, including those who qualify for free or reduced-price meals under federal income guidelines.
The Child Nutrition Programs administered by the RI Department of Education, Office of Statewide Efficiencies, have been designed to contribute to the health and well being of RI children and some adults by supporting nutritious meals served in schools, day care centers, family day care homes, and summer food programs.
The RI Department Education is responsible for administering the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Nutrition Programs: the School Breakfast Program, the National School Lunch Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Afterschool Snacks Program, and Healthier US School Challenge.
RI General Law §16-21-7 requires that elementary, middle, and high schools that sell or distribute competitive foods and beverages on the school campus during the school day shall be required to offer only healthy foods and beverages as set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-296, 42 U.S.C. § 1758 et seq.