On Monday President Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. He said as we continue to focus on the twin issues of childhood obesity and hunger, we will increase access to good, quality meals in school cafeterias so the nutritional needs of our youngsters are better met.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the law a significant step forward. By increasing the number of students eligible to enroll in school meal programs and improving the quality of food served, this legislation simultaneously tackles both hunger and the obesity levels currently affecting too many communities across this nation. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who serves as Vice Chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America, says as a physician, he knows smart nutrition leads to healthy and productive lives.
First Lady Michelle Obama has championed the effort to help America's children thrive and grow to be healthy adults. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius says she looks forward to continuing to work with the First Lady and Secretary Vilsack to combat our national childhood obesity epidemic and increase students' access to the nutritional food they need to help them learn.
This bill provides for the first non-inflationary increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunch programs since 1973, and takes a critical step toward addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity by establishing national nutrition standards for all foods sold on school campuses throughout the school day.
Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., who serves as chair of the Senate Ag Committee and authored the bill, calls it an historic investment in our children that will last a lifetime. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Ranking Member of the Senate Ag Committee says Chairman Lincoln and he worked together to craft this comprehensive child nutrition package, which includes additional resources and addresses the nutrition environment throughout the entire school campus.