First Lady Column on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
Since we launched Let’s Move! a year ago, we’ve been hard at work, talking to educators, parents, and kids; hearing from pediatricians and health experts; and working with businesses, governments, and all types of organizations. We’ve done it all to achieve one big goal – to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.
Through it all, we’ve known that many children get up to half of their daily calories from school meals. So if a parent is working hard at home to serve more nutritious meals, we’ve got to make sure that their work isn’t going to be undone when the bell rings at school. A breakfast or a lunch tray needs to be filled with foods that will give them the energy they need to be active and succeed in school. And that’s why we made passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act a cornerstone of our work during the first year of Let’s Move!
This isn’t just any ordinary law. It’s an achievement sought for decades, enacting the most meaningful and comprehensive change to food in schools we’ve seen in a generation. It helps schools provide healthier foods for all of their breakfasts and lunches and increases access for more than a hundred thousand children. It boosts food safety, connects schools with local farmers in order to serve more fresh fruits and vegetables, and empowers parents to better understand what their kids are eating every day at school. In December, the President signed this bill, which passed with broad bipartisan support. And it won’t add a penny to the deficit.
This law will make a difference for millions of kids – and this process reaffirmed so much of what I love about this country. We showed that in the greatest nation on Earth, we can make sure that no child has to battle past hunger to learn. We showed that Republicans and Democrats can put their differences aside and focus on the health and well-being of our children. And we showed that we can still accomplish big things, taking steps today that put our children’s futures on a path toward even bigger and better things tomorrow.
(Please feel free to distribute this as part of a newsletter, website post, or to attendees of an event or rally.)