Senate Committee on Agriculture Approves Child Nutrition Bill

March 24, 2010

This morning, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition,
and Forestry unanimously approved Senator Blanche Lincoln’s proposal
for the reauthorization for the Child Nutrition Act: The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The next step is for this bill to be marked up, read, and voted on by the entire Senate.

As we discussed on our blog
on March 18, the bill includes some excellent policy provisions but
does not include adequate funding to make fundamental change for school
food that really supports health and learning.

Among many
health-supporting provisions, the bill gives the USDA the authority to
set improved national nutrition standards for school meals and calls
for a ban on the sale of junk food in schools. These are important
changes, and we applaud their inclusion in the bill.

But the
bill calls for less than half the funding that President Obama has
proposed for child nutrition, not enough to truly shift the types of
meals schoolchildren are served.

In a press release about the
bill’s committee approval, Senator Blanche Lincoln said: “For far too
many children, the only stable source of food that they can count on is
what they get at school.”

We need to make sure that food is as healthful as possible.

Without
sufficient funding, schools will continue to struggle in the effort to
provide meals that have a positive impact on kids’ health and give them
energy to focus in the classroom. Given that the incidence of childhood
obesity has tripled in the last 30 years, now is the time to prioritize
and fully fund this bill to ensure all students have access to quality
and nutritious school lunches.

Now is the time to contact your senators and urge them to support increased funding for better school food in the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.