A bill was voted on today in the House Appropriations Committee that would allow school districts to opt out of the White House nutritional guidelines passed in 2012. The vote today approved a $21 billion budget but made provisions for struggling schools to delay compliance to the the existing law or to ignore it altogether. When questioned as to whether the intentions of the committee were to gut the funding for school nutritional programs, Rep. Robert Aderholt, (R-Ala.) said, "Not in this bill."
Michelle Obama (FLOTUS) published an op-ed in the New Your Times on yesterday in which she outlined the benefits of her signature program and blasted those who would oppose having guidelines for a healthier society. Michelle unlike her husband wasted no time in defending her position and questioned the motives of politicians standing in the way of providing healthier meals for our children.
In interview earlier today, Michelle made the charge that the junk food industry has been lobbying the schools to have their products sold in the schools at the expense of a healthier more balanced menu. She asserted that if Congress would appropriate more money to the schools, there would be no need to take money from the junk food lobbyists. Michelle understanding the upcoming vote in the House Appropriations Committee said: "To achieve this goal, we have adhered to one clear standard: what works. The initiatives we undertake are evidence-based, and we rely on the most current science. Research indicated that kids needed less sugar, salt and fat in their diets, so we revamped school lunch menus accordingly. When data showed that the lack of nearby grocery stores negatively affected people’s eating habits, we worked to get more fresh-food retailers into underserved areas. Studies on habit formation in young children drove our efforts to get healthier food and more physical activity into child care centers."
According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control, (CDC) child obesity has quadrupled from 5% to over 21% in the last decade. The study pointed out that this increase in obesity makes our children more susceptible to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. School age children are also having strokes at an alarming rate. This phenomenon was unheard of when schools provided hot lunches prepared in the school cafeteria.