Monday, December 13, 2010


Once the ink had dried, I decided to hit the internets and have a closer look at the Nutrition Bill. 
It's technically called the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Another of those long named bills that gets renamed something short and easy for the press.

This would be one of the projects that Michelle has been cultivating in her tenure as first lady. The measure pumps an additional $5 Billion into the Federal Nutrition in School Meals program with an expanded task to insure that those meals are healthier.

I read on that for the first time, there will be nutritional standards for all food, whether in cafeterias or in school vending machines. I actually thought we had some type of standard. The site points out that the new guidelines are designed to help fight obesity among children, which has led to an increase in disease, such as diabetes.
I found on that the bill also increases the spending per meal by about 6 cents. The money for funding the increase came from cuts in the food-stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). They also claim the President is committed to working with Congress to find a way to restore those funds.

Watching a clip of Michelle on the news, she said "We can agree that in the wealthiest nation on earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. Nothing."  
Those sentiments weren't universal. The New York Times got a few quotes from some of the opponents of the bill. Congressman Paul Broun, (R-Georgia) said: “This bill is not about child nutrition. It’s not about healthy kids. It’s about an expansion of the federal government, more and more control from Washington, borrowing more money and putting our children in greater debt. The federal government has no business setting nutritional standards and telling families what they should and should not eat.” You can almost hear the echoes of a Robert Welch speech in the background as you read it.
Congressman John Kline, (R-Minnesota) said this provision was tantamount to a tax increase on middle-class families and claiming the National Governors Association and local school officials objected to it as a new federal mandate, unless of course they bothered to see the funds were being supplied on the back end. 

All said, I think the trade off from SNAP funding for better nutrition in the schools was worth it. It's a good first step in stemming the epidemic of obesity in our culture. It starts with our kids. Schools could increase the gym time as well. Parents can step up a little more when the kids get home as well. How often do YOU take them on a rail-trail or to a skate park? Not often enough.
 Let me finish with the fact that this will be the final offering from Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. She wrote the framework of the new law pretty much the result of her years as Chair of the Agricultural Committee. Not a bad Swan Song if you ask me.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your stance on this bill. We can't deny our children nutritional meals if we have the means to provide them. Children, whether they live in the inner cities or Appalachia, have the right to a healthy diet. If we don't care about the future of our country then what do we care about? As for those politicians who claim this is a tax on the middle class or government intervention they need a swift kick in the ass in plain english.

Anonymous said...

Just the fact that you know who Robert Welch Jr is is scary and impressive.

Anonymous said...

This bill is just another example of good intentions but does not solve the problem. I had lunch the other day at my grandaughters scholl and the caferteria offers good salads and fruit but the students do not have to take it. If forced they will just put it in the trash. The goal of good nutrition has been in the school lunch programs for years. The govt requires 2oz of cooked meat protien and two servings of fruit or vegetables. You can serve the children all the good food in the world but they will not eat it. The real program should be to educate the children and make the fruits and vegetables more palletable. The parents send food that their children will eat and this may not be the best. I know what we go through with the luch/snack issue every morning. We work on finding nutrition and buy fruit in a cup etc as long as she will enjoy it. We do not have any problem with obesity and to make the children that are in great shape eat what the government thinks is right then we have gone too far. This is a waste of money and food. There are issues with nutrition but the answer is education. We have seniors that go hungry and need good healthy food and we are cutting their programs.
Leave this to local and state governments, Washington does not do anything effeciently and justs add bloated govt employees and forces unfunded mandates on local schools which could do better themselves.

Govt WASTE is the problem, great ideas with no idea of implimentation.

Anonymous said...

How about we have 2 phys ed classes a day so that the kids get some exercise? Kids that exercise usually aren't fat. Some pull ups, push ups, some running and stretching would go a long way. Maybe it could be a requirement in the Legislature too.