Healthier School Lunches

The days of greasy, unhealthy hamburgers, deep fried chicken nuggets and Sloppy Joe’s – made famous by Saturday Night Live – are numbered. School lunches will soon be healthier, according to an article from The Associated Press.

            These items will not be completely removed from school cafeterias; however, they will be made healthier. Also, high-calorie, sugary sodas will not be as readily available.

            First lady Michelle Obama’s vision of healthier school lunches has gained the support of many House Democrats.

            The House Education and Labor Committee approved a bill this July that will force school lunches to adhere to the Agriculture Department’s new standards of governing food lunches. This new bill will regulate the food served in school cafeterias and school vending machines.

            This bill was approved by a 32-13 vote, despite the concern some republicans expressed regarding how it would be paid for. The bill will cost $8 billion over 10 years.

            "This important legislation will combat hunger and provide millions of schoolchildren with access to healthier meals, a critical step in the battle against childhood obesity," Mrs. Obama said in a statement after committee passage, according to The Associated Press.

            California Rep. George Miller, the Democratic chairman of the committee, said he believes that healthier school lunches will decrease long term health care costs.

            “The cost of childhood obesity to the health of our children and our economy is staggering," Miller said. "We have to get rid of the junk food, get rid of the endless sugar and empty calories in our schools."

             Public health advocates have been trying to push these measures through for about 10 years.  Some food and beverage companies are supporting this bill.

            Congress has limited power with this measure. It can only pass the bill. The types of foods/drinks and the exact limitations of this bill will be left up to the Agriculture Department.

            This bill will also make school lunches free or affordable for lower-income students. Many democrats believe that this offset of the bill will help President Barack Obama achieve his goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015.