HSC Applauds Obama’s Call for Healthy School Lunch & Food

June 15, 2009

President Obama calls for schools to make improvements in their food programs 

Chicago, June 15, 2009 — Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) applauds President Barack Obama’s call for improvements to school food in his speech to the American Medical Association today.

While speaking to the need for a greater focus on prevention, President Obama said that we must cut down “on all the junk food that is fueling an epidemic of obesity, putting far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions.”  And while these lessons must be learned at home, we also “should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.”

In 2009, Congress is expected to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, a major piece of legislation that essentially determines school food policy and resources. This reauthorization offers a tremendous opportunity to create a future for school food in which wholesome, healthy meals are the norm and all children have access to the type of comprehensive nutrition education that creates healthy habits for a lifetime.

More than 30 million American children eat lunch at school every day. Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last two decades, and research shows dramatically higher rates of childhood obesity in Latino and Africa-American communities. Healthy school meals are of particular importance in the large urban school districts where the great numbers of students who rely on the National School Meal Programs – those who are at risk of hunger – are also facing these skyrocketing rates of obesity.

HSC supports a Child Nutrition Act that, first and foremost, provides increased funding for healthy schools food. According to the School Nutrition Association, the cost of serving a reimbursable lunch is on average $0.32 more than they receive from Federal funds. “For large urban districts, which serve high number of students at risk for obesity, the gap is often twice that amount,” said Rochelle Davis, Executive Director of the Healthy Schools Campaign, “Congress has the opportunity to close this gap by properly funding the school meal program.”

For more information visit www.healthyschoolscampaign.org/childnutrition