Schools are failing to get many kids to eat healthy, GOP says

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, June 2, 2014

Despite Michelle Obama’s efforts to improve childhood nutrition and combat obesity, schools are failing to get kids to eat healthier, according to House Republicans. Rules that started rolling out in 2012 to require schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program to add fruits and vegetables to meals, include whole grains, and reduce salt and fat in those foods haven’t been popular, they say.

On Thursday the House Committee on Appropriations passed a budget bill that would allow schools whose food programs have been losing money for six months to apply to opt out of the nutritional guidelines for 12 months. That would mean a temporary pass on mandatory fruits and vegetables, as well as the calorie, sodium, and fat limits. It would also let schools delay implementing guidelines requiring healthier snacks, which go into effect in July.

Adding significant amounts of produce to meals is expensive; students who don’t like the new meals are dropping out of the lunch program (which means less revenue for it); and kids who stay in the program are just trashing their veggies anyway, according to the committee.

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