Senate Holds First Hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization as USDA Releases New Report Showing Dr

November 19, 2009

By Amanda Chablani, HSC Policy Specialist

Recently, I was shocked to learn
that almost 17 million children in the US are food insecure – meaning
that essentially, they don’t know where their next meal will come from.

This startling information was in the recently released USDA report on food security
which painted a bleak picture: more than one in every seven US
households is struggling to put food on the table. Even more
disturbing: the report reflects last year’s data, and many are speculating
that, given the growth in unemployment (and underemployment), these
numbers may have increased over the past 11 months.

At
the same time, the Senate Committee has begun discussing the Child
Nutrition Programs (currently set to be reauthorized in Sept. 2010) and
held the first hearing this week. These programs provide a vital
opportunity to make healthy, nutritious meals available to millions of
children in schools across the country.

I found it gratifying to see
that several committee members made a point of recognizing the
importance of both increasing accessibility to school food (so that more
children can receive these meals) while also supplying children with
more nutritious food.

As we’ve discussed again and again
on this blog, hunger and poor nutrition walk hand in hand and typically
impact the same vulnerable populations. The reauthorization of the
Child Nutrition Act provides a chance to address these interrelated
issues.

And, just as importantly, kids who receive healthy
meals learn more. President Obama recognized this when commenting on
the USDA report. He said:

“Our children's ability to grow,
learn, and meet their full potential – and therefore our future
competitiveness as a nation – depends on regular access to healthy
meals.”

To learn more about Child Nutrition Reauthorization, click here.