Both sides were overwhelmingly for it — Democrats and Republicans — when the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed in 2010.
The new law ensured school meal standards were aligned with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are based on scientific research.
So what is U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue now in the process of doing?
He wants to roll back the standards, as if saying it is “common sense” that school cafeterias shove more french fries, hamburgers and other calorie-dense foods down the throats of children.
We think not.
Food companies are applauding the proposal (surprise, surprise), while nutritionists have condemned it. Perdue says decreased participation by students in the school meal program is a “common sense” reason to loosen the rules. Yet, there’s no evidence of less involvement.
What we do know is that meals served by schools are important for establishing nutritious dietary patterns early on — especially for kids who depend on schools to provide them with up to two meals plus snacks every day. These children are at a greater risk of suffering from diseases like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes — all of which tax our health system.
Common sense says stay the course.