Posts Tagged: school lunches

Food fight! (in California)

The belligerents are lining up for the battle of fish-stick hill. Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) is recruiting foot soldiers for a fight over the nation’s school lunches, one that could completely remake one of the US Department of Agriculture’s highest profile initiatives.

According to Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle, Miller would significantly boost spending on school lunch programs, enabling more students to qualify, while providing districts with more money so they can provide healthier food and source from local farms. (more…)

Michelle Obama Takes On Fat Kids

The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder has an interesting look at Michelle Obama’s announced push to end childhood obesity.

I am somewhat sympathetic to the view that government warnings about the “obesity epidemic” can be seen as paternalistic and invasive. However, the specific federal programs that the Obama administration has in mind to deal with obesity are hard to assail: better food labeling by the Food and Drug Administration, making school lunch providers serve more nutritious meals, more money for nutritious food for low-income children. As Ambinder points out, some of the proposals don’t go far enough: there needs to be even more federal money to combat “food deserts,” the large swaths of the country with no available grocery stores that sell fresh produce.

I wonder, then, if might be more effective to frame the problem as one of equal access to nutritious food and healthy lifestyles. Many children — whether too fat, too thin or of average weight — don’t get the food and exercise they need to be healthy, energetic citizens. Talk of obesity might needlessly stigmatize fat children.

More Than A Weekly Lunch Money Hike Needed

The Chicago Tribune’s Monica Eng has a good story on school lunch policy:

Most parents, administrators and legislators agree that the national lunch program is underfunded, forcing providers to serve cheap, often low-quality, foods. The system is also structured to let children’s preferences dictate the menu because if kids don’t take the lunches, the food providers get less money. Those things probably won’t change until Congress shapes the new rules for the Child Nutrition Act in the next few months. (more…)

Federal School Lunch Funding In Peril

The Washington Post’s Jane Black reports that Dept. of Agriculture staffers want more money for its commodity food program, which gives school lunches to poor kids:

Improving the quality of food provided free to schools is important at a time when school budgets are being squeezed. President Obama has proposed an additional $1 billion for child nutrition programs, including school lunch, in his 2010 budget.

But in the face of a projected federal deficit of $1.3 trillion , even the strongest supporters of school-lunch reform say that Congress is unlikely to approve a substantial funding increase when it takes up the issue next year. (more…)