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August 17--  New federal rules are kicking in this year regarding meals being served in public schools.

Vidalia City Schools dietician Linda Collins says it's all because too many kids are overweight.

"When you realize one out of three children are obese, that's a very serious situation facing people down the road," she observes.

As a result, the emphasis this year is on smaller portions and more fruits and vegetables on lunchroom serving lines.

"We've not had a whole lot of reaction from anyone yet.  The students have to pickup a fruit or vegetable and they're doing that and that's the whole point, to reduce the amount of grains and meat that we eat," Collins says.

Collins oversees lunchrooms in all of Vidalia's school and hopes a better diet will help students in the classroom.

"It should improve their attention span and make them a healthier child.  Just to make them healthier overall is the main goal and to increase fruits and vegetables.  We all need to change our lifestyles in that area," she believes.

"We have really cut down on the frying.  We might fry once a week and that's considerably less that we used to do years ago.  We bake hashbrowns and we bake sweet potato fries.  We do a lot of baking and people just don't know that we're frying like we were," she says.

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Collins briefed the Vidalia school board at their monthly meeting Tuesday night and passed around samples of the portions and types of foods being served.

At the same time, School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox reported each school must have two people on campus at all times who are trained on how to deal with problems associated with diabetes.

The board was also informed the system's bus lot and maintenance facility experienced a rash of breakins this summer.