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Under the direction of Donald Trump’s White House, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun scaling back nutritional food guidelines for school lunches, which were part of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy diet initiatives for children.
In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This federal statute governed the funding and nutritional guidelines for school lunch programs in unified public jurisdictions nationwide. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama during his first term in office.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act lowered the total caloric intake limits for meals. Sodium intake limits were also reduced, as well as the amount of trans fat allowed. Additionally, a bigger priority was placed on the amount of fruits and vegetables that were served in school lunches each day.
All of these nutrition guidelines for school-aged children were part of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” policy framework, which was designed to prevent the spread of childhood obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has increased by 300 percent since the 1970s.
However, the current U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue released a statement this past week, which announced an overhaul of the federal government’s school lunch policies that were implemented during the Obama era.
“First, the new rule would allow schools to serve low-fat, flavored milk — previously only fat-free milk could be flavored — and require only half the grains served to be whole. Before, it was required that all be whole. In addition, it will give administrators more time to lower the amount of sodium in its daily food options,” wrote Maura Hohman, a news writer for People Magazine.
“Schools won’t ever have to meet the target proposed under Obama, and they won’t have to hit the metric that preceded it until 2025,” she continued.
The quality and quantity of nutritional food products being fed to our children is the one of the most important aspects that fuels their ability to learn. With a new roll back of the Obama-era school lunch policy guidelines, less accountability will be required when it comes to the amount of non-essential nutrients being fed to children in their school lunches.