Michelle Obama’s Healthy School Lunch Program is in Jeopardy
In an effort to reduce child obesity and promote healthy eating habits for students, Michelle Obama established the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which replaces salt and grains, with quinoa and vegetables. Michelle explains in a statement, “It’s all about the students having everything they need to learn, and grow, and succeed in school and life, because the students are the future of this country.” Michelle, along with her husband, Barrack Obama, want students to be “able to fulfill every last bit of their potential and pursue every last one of their dreams.”
Studies done by organizations like the CDC (National Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention) have found a direct link between a student’s healthy lifestyle and their academic achievement. According to the CDC, “Healthy students are better on all levels of academic achievement: academic performance, education behavior, and cognitive skills and attitudes. Lack of adequate consumption of specific foods, such as fruits, vegetables, or dairy products, is associated with lower grades among students.” But despite these facts, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is currently under fire because of its negative repercussions.
Concerns from Students & Members of the School Lunch Service Industry
Over the years, students as well as workers within the school lunch service industry have become quite disappointed with the results brought on by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Students have even started tweeting pictures of their lunches using the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama, in a derogatory and sarcastic manner. Schools have also seen a decrease in school lunch participation and an increase in costs and wastes. Cafeteria workers within the school districts have grown tired of the failures they continue to see over time, which is why they formed together and created the School Nutrition Association; a national nonprofit organization, made up of more than 57,000 members “committed to advancing the quality of school meal programs through education and advocacy.”
Goals of the School Nutrition Association:
- Professional Development: school nutrition professionals will have the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise to administer, manager and deliver healthy school meal program.
- Advocacy and Public Image: Policy makers, school officials and parents will rely on SNA as the authority for designing and funding school meal plans.
- Community: School nutrition programs nationwide will be strengthen through collaboration with members, state affiliates, industry and allied partners.
- Infrastructure: SNA will have a financially sustainable funding move with a nimble governance structure and headquarters staff organization that is aligned with the strategic plan and reflects contemporary association business practices
The SNA Turns to Trump Administration for Help
Michelle fought endlessly to try to reduce childhood obesity by incorporating: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk products, and less sodium and fat into school lunch programs, but the SNA feels the act has “overly prescriptive rules.” In its recommendation, the SNA explains that, “Naturally occurring sodium present in meat, milk and other low-fat dairy food will force schools to take nutritious choices off the menu, including many soups, entree salads and low-fat deli sandwiches. Students are eating more whole grain breads and roll. But schools are struggling with limited availability of specialty whole grain items and meeting students’ regional and cultural preferences for certain refined grains. Schools should be permitted to serve white rice, pasta, grits, bagels or tortillas on occasion, just like most families do.”
Now that the Trump administration resides within the White House, the SNA feels that it will gain the support it needs in order to acquire, “practical flexibility under federal nutrition standards to prepare healthy, appealing meals,” Many believe the SNA lobbying group will be successful in achieving its overall goals thanks to the House Freedom Caucus Chairman, Mark Meadows. Meadows is currently fighting to appeal the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Mark Meadow’s View on Michelle Obama’s Healthy School Lunch Program
In an interview with Washington Examiner, Meadows said, “The federal government involving itself in what is served in school lunches is the epitome of government overreach. Districts that have chosen to opt out have been able to provide more options to students and better-quality services. At the beginning of the year, I released a report of more than 300 regulations the Trump administration can undo, which included overly burdensome federal lunch program standards. It’s the perfect example of how government interference generally makes a small problem far worse.”
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