First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have announced proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies. The bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 instructed that the USDA set guidelines for local school wellness policies. Areas of interest include: setting goals for nutrition education and physical activity, educating parents about content of the policy, and assessing progress and sharing updates. These guidelines will help ensure that foods and beverages marketed to children in schools reflect the recently proposed Smart Snack in School standards.
“The idea here is simple—our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school.”
This action comes after the White House Summit on Food Marketing to Children last fall where Mrs. Obama called on the country to ensure children’s health was not undermined by marketing of unhealthy food.
“The food marketing and local wellness standards proposed today support better health for our kids and echo the good work already taking place at home and in schools across the country. The new standards ensure that schools remain a safe place where kids can learn and where the school environment promotes healthy choices. USDA is committed to working closely with students, parents, school stakeholders and the food and beverage industries to implement the new guidelines and make the healthy choice, the easy choice for America’s young people,” Secretary Vilsack said.
The USDA has launched a new “School Nutrition Environment and Wellness Resources” website to help schools apply the school wellness policies.
These new resources will supplement a second announcement which features the nationwide expansion of a successful program that was piloted in 11 states with the goal of ensuring children who are in need of nutritious meals are receiving them. Beginning July 1, 2014, more than 22,000 schools across the country—which serve primarily low-income students—will be eligible to serve healthy free lunches and breakfasts to all students. This will help as many as 9 million American children eat healthy meals at school, especially breakfast, which can have profound impacts on educational achievement.
Michelle Obama and Tom Vilsack’s efforts to deliver healthy meals for school aged children is a proactive step towards reversing the incidence of obesity and chronic disease in this country. Children are our future and preparing them with the tools to live a healthy life should be held as a high priority.
If your child’s school does not include nutrition education for students or parents consider making an appointment for a free consultation with our lifestyle educator to learn about Heal n Cure’s Wellness program.