Pass child nutrition bill: Michelle Obama

WASHINGTON Sun Aug 1, 2010 11:54pm EDT

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks during a visit to U.S. Marine Base Camp Pendleton in California June 13, 2010. REUTERS/K.C. Alfred

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks during a visit to U.S. Marine Base Camp Pendleton in California June 13, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/K.C. Alfred

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - First Lady Michelle Obama is calling on the Congress to pass legislation to improve nutritional standards and help fight childhood obesity in American schools.

"We owe it to the children who aren't reaching their potential because they're not getting the nutrition they need during the day," she wrote in the Monday edition of the Washington Post.

"And we owe it to our country -- because our prosperity depends on the health and vitality of the next generation."

The Child Nutrition Bill would allocate $4.5 billion over a decade to support school cafeterias and introduce new standards for food sold in schools, including in vending machines.

The legislation, if passed, would effectively allow the Agriculture Department to ban junk food in schools.

Tackling childhood obesity has become Michelle Obama's signature issue as she spearheads a national campaign with a 70-point plan, challenging Americans to defeat the problem in a generation.

Obesity is one of the biggest health challenges facing the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two-thirds of American adults and 15 percent of children are overweight or obese -- a condition putting them at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

In some states, the childhood obesity rate is above 30 percent.

Disease related to excess weight costs the United States about $150 billion each year in direct medical costs. About $17 billion of government dollars now go toward child nutrition, mostly school lunches.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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Comments (32)
jmak wrote:
Ummm, I have a 40-inch waist, but Michelle Obama certainly doesn’t. I’m quite conservative and believe whole-heartedly that Michelle Obama is on the right mission. I’m a school teacher and I see children come to my classroom with cherry pie and juice for breakfast. Yes, pie! The nutrition guidelines are so lax that as long as the pie has some whole wheat flour in it, it will pass as a breakfast food. Something has to be done because common sense is not winning the battle in the school nutrition war. The kids are held captive by the bad choices the adults are making!!! Help save them from the stupidity of the penny pinching menu creators.

Aug 01, 2010 12:53am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JJWest wrote:
It costs $4.5 BILLION to re-write nutritional standards for our children !!!! Good grief!! If the food standards are no good — then fire the deadbeat civil servants who aren’t doing their job, hire Jamie Oliver and legislate his fresh food program. End of story. Total bill: ZERO because the deadbeat bureaucracy has been fired!

Aug 02, 2010 1:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
shameOnCorps wrote:
Bravo Jmac! I think you said it perfectly. :)

Aug 02, 2010 2:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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