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National school lunch program feeds 30 million children.

In the 2006-07 school year, over 30 million school children, 57% of the U.S. population age 5-17, participated in USDA's National School Lunch Program. Iowa, Kentucky Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota had the highest participation rates--above 75%. Income-eligible students can receive lunches for free or at a reduced price.

Nationally, 54% of students participating in the program received a free or reduced-price lunch in 2006-07. Colorado, Maryland, and New Jersey had some of the lowest overall participation rates and were among the 21 States where less than half of the participants received free and reduced-priced lunches.

National School Lunch Program Participation Up 57% Since 1969

Since 1969 the sixfold increase in the number of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches has been the driving force behind the growth in USDA's National School Lunch Program

In the 1970s, laws relaxed eligibility criteria and prohibited overt identification of children receiving free and reduced-price meals, and the number of free and reduced-price participants grew by 154%. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts of 1980 and 1981 temporarily halted this upward trend by establishing stricter income guidelines and requiring income verification. Since 1990, the number of children receiving free and reduced-price lunches has grown from 11.5 to 17.9 million.

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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Apr 1, 2009
Words:212
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