From Frugivore Magazine — America’s high childhood obesity rates are directly attributable to kids poor dietary choices and lack of exercise. As a result the President and First Lady have made both White House priorities; first with the “Let’s Move” initiative and now with landmark legislation that will make significant changes to the National School Lunch Program. The NSLP is a federally funded lunch program that provides free or reduced priced breakfast and lunch to children whose families meet certain income requirements. Recently, the program has been under heavy criticism for the lack of nutritional value of their daily food offerings. Especially since for some children it’s the only two warm meals they can count on each day.

The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act passed into law earlier this month, infuses the NSLP with federal funds to be utilized for reforming the food offerings of the NSLP. Now instead of having to choose between high fat, processed and sugary foods children will be offered low fat foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole wheat breads and pastas.

This legislation also seeks to get some real answers on various aspects of childhood hunger. A number of funds are directed towards the study of the various causes and consequences of childhood hunger along with funding for various organizations that coming up with innovative ways to end childhood hunger. Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program will be required to institute onsite wellness policies including physical activity and specified nutritional requirements for food offered on campus.

(Continue Reading @ Frugivore…)

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  • Emelyne

    Thank God! This is much needed :-)

  • Gigi Young

    The quality and variety of school lunches are heavily dependent upon the school district’s funds. I attended schools in at least six or seven districts from K to 12 and the poorest schools tended to have only two to three choices which were served everyday, and bowls of wilted fruits sat in tubs of melting ice–and I suspected the cafeteria just set out the same fruit day after day since they were rarely eaten by students. However, step outside of the cafeteria and walk to the snack bar? You’d see a queue of students wrapped around the building, and the wait to buy candy, hot dogs, nachos, chips, soda, etc usually took up your entire lunch break. But funnily enough, sales from the snack bar went straight to the football and basketball teams–and since sports are the linchpin on which high school “recruitment” relies upon, they aren’t giving up THAT gravy train. Back to the wealthier schools I attended? Plenty of variety and fresh food, and the snack bar was usually empty save for anyone who wanted some ice cream for dessert. As a result, I fail to see what this bill will do when everything within the educational system is HEAVILY dependent upon the tax-base from individual school districts can draw from. You can expand the free and reduced lunch program all you want, but if students are saving their money to buy fattening foods and soda from snack bars because the cafeteria is serving soggy salads and flavorless entrees, you’re not addressing the foundation of child obesity (not to mention that P.E. is a joke).