Friday, December 3, 2010

Child Nutrition Bill

A child nutrition bill was given final approval on Thursday in Congress. The bill sets new nutrition standards for school lunches, which have a major impact on the health of our children. The lunch program will feed more than 31 million children each day. This bill, which is hoped to reduce childhood obesity, was passed at a crucial time. Something needs to be done at a time when one of every three children in the United States is overweight or obese.

The bill allows nutrition standards to be set for foods sold in schools during the school day, including items in vending machines. The standards would require schools to serve more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Healthy food is more expensive so the bill will also increase federal reimbursement for school lunches. The bill would provide free lunches for over 100,000 children who are currently on Medicaid.

Opponents of the bill argued that it was just increasing government control. One opponent, Representative Paul Broun, Republican of Georgia said , “The federal government has no business setting nutritional standards and telling families what they should and should not eat.”

In my opinion, the passage of this bill is incredibly important for our country right now. With obesity rates higher than they have ever been, we need to change the way we eat in order to save America’s health. This bill will affect children in this country and hopefully have a positive effect on their future and the way they think about food. A few small changes can make a huge difference.

Jayne Mariotti, Jesuit Volunteer

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