School food improvements are working. Thankfully, ninety percent of schools now meet the updated nutrition standards for school lunch, helping millions of students get more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
But recently this common sense approach has come under attack, and I need your help.
Some members of Congress are playing politics with our children’s health. We expect they will act this Tuesday, May 20 to gut nutrition standards through the appropriations process. They might say they just want to provide schools with a little more “flexibility,” but their changes would roll back beneficial standards on salt, whole grains, fruits/vegetables, and snacks. These are the same people who legislated that pizza is a vegetable (because it contains a little tomato sauce)!
USDA has been responsive to challenges schools face in implementing the new lunch standards. Schools need support and technical assistance, not a free pass to serve junk to kids. And kids need nutrition standards based on science, not politics.
As a parent with a child in public school, I know it’s confusing to teach children about health in the classroom and serve unhealthy meals in the cafeteria. Child obesity rates are at record-high levels and many students rely on school lunch for good nutrition.
Please sign our petition urging members of Congress not to weaken the National School Lunch Program and help ensure that all students have access to healthy foods at school.
Margo G. Wootan, D.Sc.
Director, Nutrition Policy
Center for Science in the Public Interest