Thursday, January 6, 2011

Obesity Bill a boon to School Lunch Program

Another success for healthier school lunches at the national level. The US House of Representative recently voted in favor of legislation that's being termed an "obesity bill." The bill would dedicate $4.5 billion over the next 10 years to fighting childhood obesity and hunger.

"The fully-funded, bipartisan legislation was passed with a 264-157 vote, and received a signature from President Obama. The legislation will expand free school meals for the needy and give the government the power to decide what foods are to be sold in schools...

"'We simply could not miss the opportunity to support the well-being of our nation's children,' said [Bill] Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and a former educator. "Expanding programs such as those that provide school lunch and breakfast is the right thing to do for our children and its a solid investment in our future.

"'Healthy children are more able to succeed in school and grow into become healthy, successful adults who are able to contribute to their families and communities.'

"The bill's provisions include a six cent per meal increase in federal reimbursement rate for school lunches to improve the nutritional quality of school meals.

"An additional cost per meal will help schools meet new meal standards to provide children with healthier school meals. Also it will call for a reduction in the availability of high-calorie junk foods and sugary beverages in vending machines on school campuses through science-based nutrition standards for all foods sold during the school day per the Department of Agriculture." - Debra Winters, "Obesity bill will expand school meals, provide for better choices."

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