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Release No. 0144.10
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USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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USDA TO HIGHLIGHT OBAMA ADMINISTRATION EFFORTS TO IMPROVE SCHOOL MEALS

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will be holding a series of school nutrition events throughout the country to highlight the Obama Administration's efforts to improve school meals as Congress considers reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. USDA leaders will outline a number of steps to reduce hunger and improve the health and nutrition of our nation's children.

"With childhood hunger and obesity on the rise we owe it to our child to ensure our nutrition programs address these challenges," said Vilsack. "The President and First Lady have asked the American people to join in this effort not only for our children, but for the future of our country. And this year presents an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health and well being of our children when Congress considers legislation to improve the Child Nutrition Act."

A strong reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act is the legislative centerpiece for First Lady Michelle Obama's recently announced Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. USDA leadership will host the school nutrition events in regions throughout the country where participants will include food service workers, school officials, community and advocacy members, federal, state and local officials, parents and students.

"Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act allows us to enhance the nutritional quality of school meals and improve the overall health of our school environments," said Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon. "We must also continue to work towards reducing barriers and ensuring that all eligible children can participate in our school meals programs."

USDA's nutrition programs help form a national safety net against hunger. Altogether, more than 31 million children are served through the National School Lunch Program and 11 million children are served through the National School Breakfast Program. Administration priorities include eliminating barriers that keep children from participating in school nutrition programs, improving the quality of school meals and the health of the school environment, and enhancing program performance.

Dates and locations for the school nutrition events include:

Date: Week of April 5th, 2010

Location: Little Rock, Ark.

Who: Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton

Date: April 13, 2010

Location: South Carolina

Who: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator Julie Paradis

Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2010

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.

Who: Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs (SNP) Audrey Rowe

Date: Wednesday, April 28 or 29, 2010

Location: Orlando, Fla.

Who: Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton

Date: Week of May 10, 2010

Location: Detroit, Mich.

Who: Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs (SNP) Audrey Rowe

Date: Week May 17th, 2010

Location: New Haven, Conn.

Who: Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs (SNP) Audrey Rowe

Date: May 17, 2010

Location: Montana

Who: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator Julie Paradis

Date: Week of May 24, 2010

Location: Indianapolis, Ind.

Who: Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs (SNP) Audrey Rowe

Date: May 20 or 21, 2010

Location: Davis, Calif.

Who: Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton

Additional details will be made available closer to the event date.

More information about USDA's efforts to improve child nutrition can be found at www.usda.gov. Additional information on First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign is at www.LetsMove.gov.

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