American Heart Association presses congress to keep special interests off school menus

May 30, 2014

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the House Appropriations Committee's approval of a proposed waiver that would allow school districts to withdraw from federal school nutrition standards:

"By giving special interests a seat at the table, some members of Congress are putting politics before the health of our children. Any attempt to suspend or abolish meal requirements will undermine parents' efforts to keep their kids healthy and put another generation of children on the highway to heart disease and stroke. It's even more frustrating that an amendment to reverse this food folly, offered today by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), was defeated in a straight party-line vote.

Schools, where kids spend most of their days, play a critical role in helping students establish , which they desperately need to combat being overweight or obese. Already one third of America's children fall into one of these categories. Hitting the pause button on any of the school lunch standards could mean more of the nation's young will eat their way into this terrible trend.

We also cannot dismiss the progress made so far in providing the nutritious foods that will help the young achieve better long-term health and academic success. A study cited by the USDA revealed that kids are eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit when they sit down for their mid-day meal at school. They are also consuming less sugar, fat and sodium. Less salt consumption is particularly important because more young people are developing – once viewed solely as an adult disease.

In addition, cries for more flexibility from schools have and will continue to be met by the USDA. For instance, when schools informed the agency they couldn't obtain the whole grain pastas necessary under the standards, the USDA said traditional pasta could be used for two years until the food industry creates these products. The department is also supporting training sessions to assist schools with the standards and preparation for the Smart Snacks requirement.

We cannot go back to the days when the answer to 'What's for lunch?' was pizza, french fries and chicken nuggets. America's school lunch program works and will help our children live free of and stroke. Our urgent plea to Congress is to not undo the program's strong progress by putting special interests back on school menus."

Explore further: American Heart Association questions sodium delay in school foods

Related Stories

American Heart Association questions sodium delay in school foods

May 23, 2014
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill that would delay the sodium requirement for school foods under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act:

Michelle Obama assails plan to lower school lunch standards

May 29, 2014
Michelle Obama lashed out in a newspaper opinion piece Thursday against Republican plans to roll back recently improved nutrition standards in American schools, one of her cherished causes as US first lady.

USDA delays whole grains requirement for schools

May 20, 2014
The Agriculture Department will allow some schools to delay adding more whole grain foods to meals this year, responding to criticism from school nutrition officials and Congress.

Schools seek changes to healthier lunch rules

May 5, 2014
School nutrition directors across the country say government-mandated changes to cafeteria menus have been expensive and difficult to put in place.

Chips, sodas out, healthier fare in with new school snack rules

February 4, 2013
(HealthDay)—The days when U.S. children can get themselves a sugary soda or a chocolate bar from a school vending machine may be numbered, if newly proposed government rules take effect.

Parents of overweight kids more likely to give schools failing grades for fighting obesity

May 20, 2014
Parents – especially those of overweight children – give schools a failing grade for efforts to encourage healthy habits that combat childhood obesity, according to a new poll from the University of Michigan.

Recommended for you

Americans misinformed about smoking

August 22, 2017
After voluminous research studies, numerous lawsuits and millions of deaths linked to cigarettes, it might seem likely that Americans now properly understand the risks of smoking.

Women who sexually abuse children are just as harmful to their victims as male abusers

August 21, 2017
"That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?"

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.