Child Nutrition Bill Passes!
Washington D.C. – Today, in a bipartisan vote, the United States House of Representatives approved the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307), a bill that provides an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years to federal child nutrition programs, including school lunch. The First Focus Campaign for Children, a nonpartisan children’s advocacy organization, praised our nation’s leaders for passing legislation that will ensure that more low-income children receive access to the meals they need.
Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:
“Now more than ever, providing children access to healthy food is critical. Nearly one in four American children go to bed every night hungry, and given current economic conditions, it is likely that many more families will require assistance to feed their children both now and in the years ahead.
“To grow up healthy and concentrate in school, children need access to nutritious foods. The National School Meals Program and other child nutrition programs offer the healthiest and most nourishing meals that many children receive each day. We commend President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Agriculture Committee Chairman Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Committee on Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-CA), and Representative Todd Platts (R-PA) for their leadership in ensuring that more hungry American children will have access to these valuable programs and the nutrition they provide.
“The legislation will also make great strides in preventing and addressing our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic by reducing junk food in schools and improving the nutritional quality of meals. It is unacceptable that one-third of our children and teens are either obese or overweight. Not only does this statistic reflect a serious health concern for our nation’s future, but a national security issue as well. Recent research shows that today 27 percent of 17-24 year-olds weigh too much to enlist in the military.
“Investing early in children’s nutrition provides a lifetime of benefits to our nation’s future. By preventing disease and obesity in children, kids will be able to lead long and productive lives. This is important for their future, provides a cost benefit to our healthcare system, and lays the health and educational groundwork for our nation’s future workforce and military.
“While the First Focus Campaign for Children, strongly supports the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, we are committed to working with Congress and the Administration to restore the cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and fix the current benefits cliff that is now scheduled to take place in November of 2013. We urge Congress and the Administration to work together to restore the SNAP cut as soon as possible.”