WASHINGTON — A year after its enactment, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 continues to provide ways to combat child hunger and obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation’s children, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“The success of our nation tomorrow depends on the choices we make for our kids today,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is vital to the health and welfare of our kids, helping them build the healthy futures they deserve. We’ve seen the connection between what our kids eat and how well they perform in school. And we know that America’s success in the 21st century means having the best-prepared and best-educated workforce around. So it is critical that we work to ensure that all children have the basic nutrition they need to learn, grow, and to pursue their dreams. As we celebrate the many accomplishments of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act’s first year, we also pledge to continue taking bold steps forward to advance this goal.”
The U.S.D.A. said the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 “marked a great win” for the nearly 32 million school children that participate in the National School Lunch and the 12 million school children that participate in the School Breakfast Programs each school day.
Key accomplishments from the act in the first year included the U.S.D.A.’s proposed new meal patterns and nutrition standards that align school meals with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; U.S.D.A.-issued new rules to ensure that all revenues from school food sales keep pace with the federal commitment to healthy school meals and properly align with costs, providing local schools as much as $7.5 billion over 5 years to invest in healthier meals for children; and the expansion of the availability of afterschool meals across the nation through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Looking ahead to 2012, the U.S.D.A. said it expects to accomplish even more through the act, including finalizing the actual standards to align school meals with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in early 2012; proposing new standards for foods sold in school other than reimbursable meals, such as those in school stores, a la carte lines, and vending machines; and proposing updated standards for child and adult care settings, as well as other early learning settings that participate in CACFP, to better align the meals served with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.