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Health Highlights: June 27, 2013

Health Highlights: June 27, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New U.S. Nutrition Rules for School Foods

Lower limits on the amount of fat, calories, sugar and salt in all foods sold in U.S. schools were finalized this week by federal officials.

Included in the new Department of Agriculture restrictions are snacks sold around the school and items on the "a la carte" line in cafeterias, which have never been regulated before, the Associated Press reported.

The new rules, which apply to 100,000 schools nationwide, allow states to regulate student bake sales.

The regulations -- required under a child nutrition law passed by Congress in 2010 -- are meant to combat childhood obesity and could lead to major changes in what many children eat at school, according to the AP.

Some schools do provide healthier lunch menus and vending machine choices, but others still sell high-fat, high-calorie foods. The nutritional content of free and low-cost school breakfasts and lunches subsidized by the federal government are already regulated. However, many school lunchrooms also have "a la carte" lines that sell other foods, many of which are unhealthy.

Under the new rules, those "a la carte" lines will have to offer healthier choices, such as low-fat hamburgers, yogurt and fruit cups, the AP reported.

Another major change under the new rule will be a near-ban on high-calorie beverages. Only sports drinks and sodas that contain 60 calories or less per 12-ounce serving will be allowed in high schools. Many companies have already developed low-calorie sports drinks and many diet teas and diet sodas are available.

In elementary and middle schools, beverage choices will be limited to water, carbonated water, 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, and low fat and fat-free milk, including fat-free flavored milks, the AP reported.

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Most Chimps To Be Retired From Medical Research: NIH

Most of the chimpanzees who've spent their entire lives in research labs are going to be retired by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The agency said Wednesday that it will retire about 310 chimps from medical research over the next few years, saying they "deserve special respect," the Associated Press reported.

Only 50 chimps will be kept so that they will be available if needed for important medical research that could be performed no other way, the NIH said.

In 2011, the Institute of Medicine said that nearly all use of chimps for invasive medical research no longer can be justified, the AP reported. The NIH said more space in sanctuaries is needed in order to provide all the retiring chimps with homes.

 
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