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Friday, December 10, 2010

President To Sign Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

On Monday, the President will sign into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  He will join the First Lady in delivering remarks.

As a precursor to Monday's event, the White House had a background conference call today to discuss the bill signing and what the new legislation means for millions of school children across the country.

On the call were Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sam Kass, White House Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, and Tim Cipriano, Executive Director of Food Services for New Haven public schools.

The legislation means increased funding for schools to improve menu choices in vending machines, school lunch lines, and À la carte menu items.

"Kids eating healthy equates to more kids learning, which equates to smarter kids down the line", said Cipriano.

The legislation, in conjunction with the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative, strives to decrease (or rid) childhood obesity within a generation.

One-in-four American school children lack access to healthy foods, while 1/3 of kids see their school lunch as the only meal of the day. 

One in three children are at risk of being obese.  If something isn't done America's future generations may not be fit enough to pass the required physical test to join the U.S. military.

"The president has been consistently aggressive in reversing these numbers", said US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak.

Mrs. Obama, who has billed her Let's Move! campaign a top priority during her tenure as The First Lady, remarked after the passing of the legislation earlier this year saying she was both "thrilled, and "proud" of the legislators who helped pass the bill.

"I’m proud of what we’re doing to support these efforts through our Let’s Move! initiative, and I am confident that, together, we can turn the tide on childhood obesity and give all our children the happy, healthy lives they deserve." 

Naysayers and political noise makers like Sarah Palin, who protested a Pennsylvania school's effort  to get students to eat healthier because she believes the Act would limit sweets in schools, will find that the Act does not discourage kids from having treats.

"The Act does not ban bake sales, nor does it prevent parents from bringing cookies to school", clarified Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsak.  "Read the bill."

The Act will provide healthier food ingredients like whole grains, include more fruits and vegetables, and offer fat free or reduced fat milk on school menus while improving the quality of school breakfasts, lunches and other foods sold in schools, while strengthening nutrition programs that serve young children like WIC and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.   

"Today is a great day for 32 million of America's kids", said Vilsak.

He called the bill a "critical step" in reducing hunger and obesity in America's children.

Earlier this week Janey Thornton, USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary,  recognized 11 Mississippi Public Schools in Purvis, Hattiesburg, Lumberton and Sumrall for their excellence in school nutrition that entailed meeting the highest standards for creating and maintaining healthy school environments by promoting good nutrition and physical activity.

Monday's remarks from the President and First Lady, as well as Monday's bill signing, will be streamed live at whitehouse.gov/live at 10:25am ET.

Related
Bill Summary
'Recipes For Healthy Kids' Challenge

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