Senate Ag Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind., were joined by four other Senators Thursday in urging passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a bill that will reauthorize child nutrition programs before they expire Sept. 30. Lincoln says the act will put the nation on a path to end childhood hunger and obesity and improve the health of the next generation of Americans. Lugar says food from child nutrition programs may provide the bulk of nutrition children from low-income homes receive during the day. Given the nation's economic climate, he says the moment to pass the bill should be seized.
The legislation passed the Senate Ag Committee unanimously at the end of March. It provides the first non-inflationary increase in the Federal reimbursement rate for school lunch programs in nearly 40 years. The bill includes a provision requiring the Ag Secretary to establish national nutrition standards consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for all foods sold on school campuses throughout the school day.
Dr. Sandra Hassink, American Academy of Pediatrics Obesity Leadership Workgroup Chairman, says as a pediatrician who specializes in treating obesity she's pleading for the Senate to put her out of a job. Hassink says she would like nothing more than to have an empty clinic. Lincoln says the nation's children will pay the price if legislators miss the opportunity to pass the bill and improve programs.