This is an advocacy post so I wont make it too long. I will just provide you with the basics and the links to explore more. But this one is an easy one. Really. Healthier food for kids???!!! We have to advocate for this???? Seems we do!!
About the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 - as benign a political decision as can be but in today's political climate there are no guarantees. There are forces working to block the passage of the bill in Congress even though tens of thousands of parents and organizations have lobbied to get this bill passed. The House of Representatives wants the USDA to start from scratch because they don't like a few things. You check out the details using the links I have provided here and decide for yourself.
Last year, the Senate unanimously passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), requiring USDA to update school nutrition standards. Once these new proposed school nutrition guidelines are implemented, our nation's school children will have access to healthier meals that include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat milk; less sodium, unhealthy fats, and calories; and better accountability and compliance with the standards. The legislation authorizes funding and sets policy for all the USDA's core child nutrition program including the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) among others.
The US Department of Agriculture has revised their school food standards to make the foods more healthy for children who get lunches and breakfasts at school. The new guidelines reduce unhealthy fats, calories and salt, and include low-fat milk and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and represents the first time in 30 years that there has been a chance to make some changes that will reduce the health risks (associated with obesity, and high fat or salt intake) of the foods children now get served at school.
It seems that there are certain commercial interests who actually want to fight against these changes despite Michele Obama's Let's Move program that has a goal of reducing childhood obesity.
My sister runs a charter school and to provide healthy lunches for her children she has opted out of the federal lunch and breakfast programs and spends an extra 60 cents/meal (than the USDA option) to provide healthy food for the children at her school, Newark Legacy Charter School, in Newark, NJ - a place with what are called food deserts i.e. it's hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables. She works with a company called Revolution Foods to provide these meals. They have a philosophy that keeps sugar and bad fats out of kids meals and keep it on the fresh side. But it costs more than what the USDA programs cost but healthy kids in places that are not only often in places that are hard to find fruits and vegetables but parents don't have the money to afford them and so school is where the kids often get their primary meal.
It just takes a click on the congress and rep links above to find your legislator and make your opinion known. Now get to it!!
For more on childhood obesity: Healthier Generation
Hey hey ho ho!! This processed fat, salty, high calorie lunch has got to go!:
- Policy provokes me to think and write. I currently work in ivory towers inspiring people to engage in their world. I am a student of the human condition and my classroom is the world. I don't need credentials to have an opinion but I've got paper to prove I know a few things about public health, social welfare and economics. I'm coming out of the tower and taking the words to the people and hope you will send some words back at me.