As the U.S. grapples with falling home prices, rising unemployment and poverty, members of Congress can’t even agree on what to serve our school-aged children for lunch! The Obama administration – in concert with the First Lady’s flagship health initiative, Let’s Move! – has been working to improve the foods our children eat during the school day to include more whole grains, less sodium and other healthier options. However, a new spending bill released by Congress last Monday will undoubtedly block or delay the President’s plans.
To illustrate, the bill recognizes tomato paste as a vegetable, calls for more research on long-term sodium reduction and requires that the Administration first define “whole grains” before regulating them. Again, who knew that promoting healthier school lunches could create such gridlock on Capitol Hill?
The issue of what to feed our nation’s children should not be trivialized, however, as they are predicted to live shorter lives than their parents for the first time in history due to rising childhood obesity rates. Thankfully, some school districts across the country are taking matters into their own hands and are placing our children, not politics, first. In Asheville, for example, they have replaced regular french fries with baked sweet potato fries, white rice with brown rice, and whole milk with 1 percent or fat free. Asheville City Schools also provide more fruit and vegetable servings, whole wheat bread, and foods that are either baked or steamed.
To learn more, please click here to read the full article in the Asheville Citizen-Times.
– Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the NC Council of Churches. Please visit our website to view more resources on health and faith: www.healthandwholeness.org.