INDEPENDENCE, MO -- Starting this fall, all high and middle schools in Independence, MO, will "grade" the foods offered in their cafeterias and vending machines using theNuVal Nutritional Scoring System.
The NuVal scale ranks all foods on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher a food's score, the more nutritious that food is overall. Typically, NuVal scores are provided on participating supermarket shelves; this marks the first time they will be used in schools. The system was created by a team of a dozen health and nutrition experts and was recently endorsed by the American College of Preventive Medicine.
NuVal Scores will be presented in a trademarked blue double-hexagon design and will be on display for all foods served at the schools, from school vending machine products to cafeteria à la carte items. Scores are based on a sophisticated algorithm that takes into account more than 30 different nutrients and nutrition factors -- everything from fiber and vitamins to fat and sodium -- into account when developing a score.
Located east of Kansas City, the Independence school district contains four middle schools and four high schools; more than 7,000 students attend classes there each day. Superintendent Dr. Jim Hinson said his schools are adopting NuVal as a response to the dire statistics of the country's declining health. "The trends you hear about, they're alarming," he said. "We're noticing it ourselves each year in our own schools -- it's clear that students need support in learning to eat healthier."