Michelle Obama wades into political debate to stop backtracking on school lunch reforms

Republican proposals would allow some schools to delay enforcement of new standards.

The New York Times: First Lady Rebuts Effort To Weaken School-Lunch Rules
Michelle Obama turned uncharacteristically political on Tuesday, pushing back against a measure pending in the Republican-controlled House that would let some schools opt out of federal dietary standards for school lunches. The standards, approved by Congress and the president in 2010, set limits on sodium, fat and calories, and require that unhealthy menu items be replaced with fruits, vegetables and whole grains (Joachim, 5/27).

The Washington Post: Michelle Obama Says It's Time To 'Fight The Hard Fight' For School Lunch Program
"The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids' health," she told a roundtable meeting hosted by the White House. "Now is not the time to roll back everything we have worked for" (Hamburger, 5/27).

NBC News: First Lady Responds To School Meal Critics In Congress
Serving healthier food has aided young people's academic performance and helped them develop better eating habits at a time when childhood obesity is at an alarming high, according the round table participants. The remarks came a week after a House subcommittee advanced Republican legislation that would allow some schools to waive healthier school food standards championed by the first lady. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the bill this week (Rafferty, 5/28).

Los Angeles Times: First Lady Decries Plan To Lower School Lunch Nutrition Standards 
Since lobbying on behalf of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which set new standards for school food, Obama has rarely waded into legislative or regulatory debates. ... the law is being challenged in Congress by the School Nutrition Assn., a coalition of school officials and the food companies that sell mini-pizzas, yogurt, pastas and chicken nuggets to schools. Its industry members include Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola, Chobani Greek yogurt and Tyson Food Service, according to the group's website. (Hennessey, 5/27).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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