If you don’t know about H.R. 610, here is a link to the text and the bill’s progress. I urge you to follow it and, if you feel strongly about it, respond to it. While my Congressional Representative is not a member of the House Committee currently reviewing this legislation, I want her to know exactly how this bill will impact our Local Education Agency (LEA).
A tacked on provision in this legislation can be found at the very end: dismantling (my word) of the No Hungry Kids Act. Under the No Hungry Kids Act, fruit and vegetable offerings increased and low- and non-fat milk was offered. Those requirements would be removed. Additionally, the proposal in HR610 would eliminate monitoring school lunch/breakfast choices for sodium, trans fats and saturated fats.
Why does this matter? Childhood and adult obesity continues to be a factor in health and well-being. In school food programs students are exposed to healthier eating options. If you are unfamiliar with the effects of less healthy food choices, read Michael Pollan or Mark Bittman or Jamie Oliver. If you want to see the results of eating high-sodium, high-fat and out of balance carbs, see the film Supersize Me.
Students who receive school lunches in high poverty (economically disadvantaged – to use MA DESE’s new terminology) currently have more healthy choices. Unbelievably, HR610 proposes to change that by eliminating the requirements for low sodium, low fat and fresh fruit/vegetable choices.
To what purpose? The cynic in me wonders what giant food supplier or lobby is balking at the “expense” of providing students with healthy breakfasts and lunches.
Keeping school food service as a healthy eating opportunity gives me yet another reason to stay on top of HR610.