Let's Move Child Nutrition

Can you show the Mom-in-Chief how motivated we are to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act?

Back in April I attended the White House Childhood Obesity Summit on behalf of the National Farm to School Network as reported here.
The purpose of the summit was to gather input from experts to create a
roadmap leading to children reaching adulthood at a healthy weight.

Can you show the Mom-in-Chief how motivated we are to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act?

Back in April I attended the White House Childhood Obesity Summit on behalf of the National Farm to School Network as reported here.
The purpose of the summit was to gather input from experts to create a
roadmap leading to children reaching adulthood at a healthy weight.

On Tuesday, the White House Childhood Obesity Report
[PDF] was released. One particular challenge of the taskforce was to
create benchmarks of success, leading to the focused goal of returning
to a childhood obesity rate of 5% by 2030.

For more detailed summaries of the report, check out Jane Black's Washington Post piece or Obamafoodorama's post.
For those specifically interested in linking local food and
agriculture to federal nutrition programs, you will be as pleased as I
am to see Farm to School is included as recommendation 3.6: "USDA
should work to connect school meals programs to local growers, and use
farm-to-school programs, where possible, to incorporate more fresh,
appealing food in school meals." Schools gardens are also recommended:
"Where possible, use school gardens to educate students about healthy
eating."

It is great to see the Administration embracing proven strategies
for healthy children and communities. However, as Michelle Obama
said, "Our work has only just begun."

Now we need to crank up the heat. Now we turn prose and a host of
good ideas into actual policy. Critical questions remain: Is there
legislative muscle behind this report? Will the East and West wings put
their weight behind passing a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization
(CNR) this year? CNR is the bill that decides what's served in your
child's lunch room and much more.

Michelle Obama could test drive the new action plan now and encourage the Senate to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act as soon as possible.

The Senate child nutrition bill has stalled and delay could mean
death to our efforts thus far. Time is short; the Senate must act soon
or there won't be a child nutrition bill this year at all, and that
means we lose the possibility of a small increase in reimbursement
rates. It would also leave us with junk food in the school halls, scrap
new funding for expanding farm to school programs, and eliminate
changes enabling schools to serve free meals to all students in low
income schools.

The Community Food Security Coalition has an action alert that spells out what you can do to help move this bill along.

Do we want more funding than the proposed $4.5 billion over ten
years? Absolutely, but the only way we're going to get the bill through
Congress this year and have the chance of more dollars for child
nutrition is by keeping the wheels rolling.

Your voice is critical to turning school food reform dreams into
reality. And, it turns out, taking action is one of the taskforce's key
recommendations. As Michelle Obama said, "We are calling upon mayors
and governors; and parents and educators; business owners and health
care providers. Anyone who has a stake in giving our children the
healthy, happy future that we all know they deserve. All we need is
the motivation, the opportunity and the willpower to do what needs to
be done."

There are opportunities lurking around every corner, but the
opportunity to make significant, national policy changes that will
touch the daily lives of children don't come knocking every day. Child
Nutrition Reauthorization is the opportunity to focus and unleash
the motivation and willpower we've demonstrated through millions of
signatures added to petitions, thousands of letters written by children
and parents to Congress, hundreds of action alerts sent out, and even
very fun spoofs such as Lunch Encounters of a Third Kind...all for the purpose of creating a healthier generation through school meals.

So Michelle Obama and Taskforce, Let's Move! and let's do whatever
it takes to get the Child Nutrition bill moving through the Senate,
through the House, and into the lunch room!

Help children like this 7th Grader from Georgia tell Senators to improve school lunch!

Dear Senator Saxby Chambliss:

I wish to commend you on your job of
representing our state at the caliber that you do. Not many people are
capable, or willing, to put themselves into your position. However, I
feel that something is amiss at our public schools. Almost every day,
I walk through the lunch line, eyeing up the different choices for my
meal. Looking down at my tray, I see that each part of my meal (an
entree and two sides, accompanied by a half-pint of milk) is roughly
the same shade of unappetizing brown. The average daily lunch consists
of pizza, fries, and chips, all of which are filled with carbohydrates
and salt. This produces both an un-healthy lunch, as well as an
unappetizing one.

37% of children in Georgia are obese,
one of the highest percentages in the nation. This high percentage of
overweight children eventually leads to overweight adults, on which the
future of our country rests. This obesity is a national crisis, as
almost 27% of all military age men are too overweight to keep up with
the strict regime of the army. I urge you to help those of us in public
school obtain a healthier, not to mention better tasting, lunch. If you
could help support the development of more Farm to School programs in
the area, as well as advocate a change toward better food through the
Child Nutrition Act, the public schools and the children within them
would be better off for it. Please make your best attempt to pass this
act to and to forward the progress of the Farm to School programs.

Gowan M, 7th Grader, Georgia

Kids get it, will Congress?