Bill takes aim at child obesityU.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, reports that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has passed out of committee with bipartisan support.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, reports that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has passed out of committee with bipartisan support.
The bill overhauls the major domestic food assistance programs that serve the nutritional needs of 29 million American children each day.
Currently, one in four children are either obese or overweight before entering kindergarten.
“A significant number of kids rely on these programs for meals every day and ensuring that they have access to nutritious food is important not only for their own well-being, but for the well-being of our nation,” said Klobuchar. “By promoting healthy lifestyles early, this bill represents a new opportunity to combat childhood obesity and improve children’s health across our country.”
The legislation reauthorizes the nutrition programs that are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The programs work to provide a nutritional safety net for children and include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
Childhood health has become a national health issue and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every three children in the U.S. between the ages of 2 and 19 is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.
The legislation includes a Klobuchar bill that calls for changes to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to implement nutrition standards for meals served in the program and provide health education and guidance for child care providers.
The bill will improve children’s health by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop nutrition standards consistent with the dietary guidelines for all food served in the CACFP, Klobuchar said.
A recent study found that up to one-third of children age 7 months to 24 months were found to consume no fruits or vegetables for a whole day and the most commonly eaten vegetable was French fries. Additionally, the bill will simplify the administration of the program to ensure greater access for families and reduced administrative cost.
The bill also includes provisions authored by Klobuchar that increase transparency and accountability for local wellness policies.
The provisions will require local educational agencies to develop implementation plans for nutrition education and promotion and physical activity in schools within one year of enactment of the bill and ensures that these policies are made readily available to parents.
Klobuchar also supported an amendment that grants the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to oversee the sale of all foods and beverages on school grounds and requires national nutrition standards for these foods.
The bill will now go to the full Senate for approval.