With her focus on nutritious foods and making sure access to them was expanded to all children in the nation during her time in the White House, former first lady Michelle Obama is asking some serious questions now that President Donald Trump has moved to go backwards on efforts designed to promote healthier school lunches and reduce childhood obesity.
"You have to stop and think: why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you?"
—former First Lady Michelle ObamaJust months after former president Barack Obama left office, as Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump administration issued orders that weakened standards set by the "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act," which Ms. Obama championed and her husband signed into law in 2010.
The Obama-era statute repealed by Trump had set guidelines and added funding that would push schools to reduce levels of sodium and fats in lunches served at the nation's public school while incentivizing more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthier dairy products by offering federal funds to districts that could meet the more nutritious standards.
The move was decried by education and childhood health experts at the time and speaking on the issue for the first time publicly on the subject, at a conference in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Obama also took issue with Trump's decision and said parents should not tolerate such callous disregard for the nation's young people. Though she did not specifically mention the new president by name she said any lawmaker who would push such policies had some explaining to do.
"This is where you really have to look at motives, you know," she said. "You have to stop and think: why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you?"
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"If someone is doing that," Obama added, "they don't care about your kid. And we need to demand everyone to care deeply about our kids."
According to reports, Obama's comments resulted in "cheers and applause" from those in attendance.
"We gotta make sure we don't let anybody take us back," Obama said to further applause. "Every elected official on this planet should understand: Don't play with our children. Don't do it."