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Don't Play Politics with our Children's Health

Posted by Alyn Kiel, USDA Office of Communications in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
Earlier this morning, The Hill published an op-ed written by Secretary Vilsack and former Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, who served from 2001 to 2005. In the op-ed, Vilsack and Veneman call on Members of Congress to stand strong for America’s children and resist attempts to undo the progress made since the passage of the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). Schools across the country are now serving healthier meals to kids based on recommendations from doctors and nutritionists at the Institute of Medicine. Thanks to HHFKA, the school environment is healthier for millions of American children, giving them a fair shot at a healthier, more productive future. Read more from The Hill Op-Ed
Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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Mary Walker
May 29, 2014

No, kids are not thriving under this new law. My kids come home hungry every single day because they cannot consume their lunches. It is not because my kids don't like fruit or vegetables. In fact, my kids love fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. The food given to my kids at lunchtime is rotten, stale, and not fit for human consumption. I have seen it with my own eyes. A friend of mine went to school to eat lunch with her daughters, and the macaroni and "cheese" consisted of macaroni noodles mixed with flour paste. No cheese at all. One girl at the table vomited after her first bite of the macaroni and cheese. You are shorting kids of nutritional calories they need to thrive, all in a bid to save a buck. I am seriously contemplating NOT allowing my kids to eat your nasty, disgusting, ill-conceived lunches next school year, but rather sending home-packed lunches with them. At least I will be able to make sure my kids get the nutrients they need to do well in school. And I dare you to try to stop me from putting what I want and what I know my kids to need in their lunches. I'm their mother, and at least I have the common sense to realize that growing kids need far more than the slop that you are forcing down their throats.

Mary Joiner
May 29, 2014

Once again the federal government has gotten the cart ahead of the horse that needs to pull it. These "new" mandates were put into place without the necessary systems up and running just like ObamaCare (or as I call it NOcare).
First of all, not all schools can AFFORD to pay for these higher cost meals. Because states and local school systems have to foot a large portion of the costs of their employees salaries and benefits, utilities, etc. there is little left to actually buy food. The reimbursement rate is less than $3.00 for "free" lunch recipients and only 28 CENTS for paid lunches. RICH people are making these laws with no regard to the COSTS associated with them.
Second, the DISTRIBUTORS that are federally and state approved don't have the resources available to get fresh fruits and veggies. The government did NOTHING to attempt to get these systems into place before mandating these laws.
Children eat what they are familiar with. Low income families depend on CHEAP foods so that is what they children are used to eating and don't take to change very easily.
Many local school systems have weighed in, and those who have thousands and thousands of students are doing okay smaller schools systems are not. In the poorer areas the amount of food thrown away is much, much greater than schools in more affluent areas and the children in poorer areas are at much greater risk than affluent children are.

My 20 year old daughter has major health problems including having a pacemaker and ALL of the Childrens' Hospitals she's been in do one thing - they don't make HEALTHY foods a priority, they allow the burgers, fries and pizza available because the children need CALORIES in order to get well. While this type diet isn't good for them all the time those who actually are on the front lines KNOW it's better to get a child to EAT than to satisfy some political bureaucrat" ideas of what's "good" for EVERYONE.

Robert Nimz
May 30, 2014

Yes , children do eat what they are familiar with, and if if parents feed them Happy Meals or hot dogs and soda,that's what they're going to be craving, and they will want to throw away the healthy food. Letting children learn about nutrition, health, exercise,and obesity in the classroom, allowing them to have fun tasting "free samples,"away from the peer pressure of the cafeteria,and encouraging them to take this knowledge home and influence others can be a very positive thing. Healthy eating can be done inexpensively, and naysayers should look at the objective here -healthy children!- and work to make that happen. Anecdotes of complaints should be seen as : challenges and opportunities for the greater goal: happy ,healthy, loving, contributing youngsters!