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A prestigious scientific panel Wednesday urged the government to ban soft drinks, sugary snacks and other junk food from schools, saying the typical fare available in vending machines, at snack bars and at class birthday parties is contributing to the growing obesity of America's children.
The report by the Institute of Medicine, which Congress requested, said less-nutritious items should be replaced with healthier stuff such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
It emphasized adding snacks with more whole grains and less sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.
In place of potato chips, chocolate bars and other popular snacks, the report said, schools should sell more-healthful options such as apples, carrot sticks, raisins, low-sugar cereals, whole-grain tortilla chips, granola bars and nonfat yogurt with no more than 30 grams of added sugar.
The proposed guidelines also urge limiting the calorie content of all snacks and drinks to no more than 200 per portion — and switching to items that contain no more than 35 percent of calories from fat, no trans fats, less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat, and lower levels of sugar and sodium.