Congress Passes Child Nutrition Act
Washington, D.C. – A major public health victory on behalf of the nation's neediest children is about to be realized when President Obama signs into law legislation that will provide healthy school lunches to millions.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307), sent by Congress to President Obama for his signature, expands the 2004 Child Nutrition Act by making more meals available to children whose families are struggling financially. The measure provides up to 20 million more meals for children in after-school programs.
Michelle Obama campaigned for the legislation as a means to address hunger and childhood obesity.
Some research has shown that children receive roughly half their daily caloric intake at school. Yet many school lunches supported by federal funds do not meet its own nutrition guidelines.
The bill would:
• expand the federal free and reduced-price school lunch program to reach more low-income students;
• increase the number of school breakfasts, after-school meals and summer lunches;
• raise school lunch nutrition standards, with updated training for lunchroom workers;
• support farm-to-cafeteria programs that bring healthy local produce to kids; and
• improve the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program for poor mothers.
“The only meal millions of children in this country might get during a given day is the one provided at school,” said Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group president and co-founder. "This bill will bring more nutritious meals to millions of hungry children during vitally important years when they need the benefits of a healthy diet.”
Environmental Working Group has opposed the legislation's provision to pay for half the cost of the bill, $4.5 billion over 10 years, by by slashing the food stamp program, officially the Supplemental Nutrition Program. The Obama administration has promised to restore those cuts. EWG is one of the few environmental groups that has consistently and vocally supported federal food assistance programs.
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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. http://www.ewg.org