RALEIGH, N.C. — Officials said the number of overweight children and teenagers in North Carolina is higher than the national average.
As a result, three state agencies have announced recommendations for food at school. They are targeting the a la carte items and vending machines at schools.
Some of the recommendations made include having 50 percent of items in vending machines with less than 200 calories. In addition, if there are vending machines with soda, they should also have choices of milk or water. The recommendations are voluntary for all schools across the state.
School cafeterias do not get outside state or local funding. A la carte choices keep sales up and regular lunch prices low. In Wake County schools, a Pepsi contract pushed more than $1 million into school programs and budgets last year.
At Southeast Raleigh High School, it funds trips for its nationally recognized robotics team.
"It affords us wonderful opportunities to give kids some really great experiences -- experiences they probably wouldn't have," Southeast Raleigh H.S. principal John Modest said.
Last year, Wake County schools sold $10 million worth of food off the a la carte line, which compares to $7.8 million in traditional lunch sales. Next year, Wake County schools will only allow low-fat foods on the a la carte menu at elementary schools.