Getting School Nutrition on the Front Burner Again
photo: School Food Focus
I've written about school lunches on a number of occasions. The Child Nutrition and WIC Act of 2004 needs to be reauthorized and expanded. It expired on September 30, 2009, according to the School Nutrition Association, but the issue has been pushed to the back burner as a result of other legislative priorities, including healthcare reform and the war in Afghanistan. But now with First Lady Michelle Obama putting school lunches on the front burner, we may actually make some progress on the issue.School Food Focus is an organization made up of food service professionals that serve over 4 million of America's kids, poised to make some serious changes in school lunches. The group has its work cut out for it but headway is being made as a result of Michelle Obama's Let's Go Program and new attention from the USDA. According to recent survey results from the group, 95 percent of American adults agree that there is a direct relationship between healthy eating and the ability to achieve in school, 87 percent believe investing in healthy meals can reduce healthcare costs in the long run, and 77 percent support expanding the Child Nutrition Act to provide healthier food and cover more kids.
The First Lady's Let's Move Campaign has already gotten the ball rolling.
There are four key components to the campaign:
1. Making Healthy Choices
2. Healthier Food in Schools
3. Access to Healthy Affordable Foods
4. Increased Physical Education
The USDA seems to have brought some focus to school nutrition as well:
"A number of recent studies indicate that one-third of all children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight or obese and we must take immediate steps to improve the nutritional quality of school meals and the health of the school environment," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We have a window of opportunity to make progress on improving the nutrition of school lunches as Congress reauthorizes the Child Nutrition Act."
More on School Lunches:
80,000 Baltimore Students Join Meatless Monday Movement
Waste Free School Lunch: Yet Another Kit to Help us Reuse
Two Angry Moms Taking on School Lunch