Michelle Obama's Monday op-ed in The Washington Post makes the case for a new piece of legislation: the Child Nutrition Bill. Expanding on her positions for her earlier "Let's Move!" initiative, the first lady argues that the Child Nutrition Bill is the logical next step in fighting childhood obesity: the country needs to make sure parents' gains regarding their children's health aren't lost during the day at school.
WHAT THE 'LET'S MOVE!' INITIATIVE IS ABOUT
"Let's Move!" is helping parents get the tools they need to keep their families healthy and fit. It's helping grocery stores serve communities that don't have access to fresh foods. And it's finding new ways to help America's children stay physically active.
WHY 'LET'S MOVE!' ISN'T ENOUGH
[O]ur kids ... also need to stay healthy and active at school. The last thing parents need or want is to see the progress they're making at home lost during the school day.
WHAT THE CHILD NUTRITION BILL PROPOSES
To start, the bill will make it easier for the tens of millions of children who participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program--and many others who are eligible but not enrolled--to get the nutritious meals they need to do their best. It will set higher nutritional standards for school meals by requiring more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while reducing fat and salt. It will offer rewards to schools that meet those standards. And it will help eliminate junk food from vending machines and a la carte lines--a major step that is supported by parents, health-experts, and many in the food and beverage industry.
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO PASS THIS BILL
We owe it to the children who aren't reaching their potential because they're not getting the nutrition they need during the day. We owe it to the parents who are working to keep their families healthy and looking for a little support along the way. We owe it to the schools that are trying to make progress but don't have the resources they need. And we owe it to our country--because our prosperity depends on the health and vitality of the next generation.