Urge congress to update the national school lunch program
Posted: February 03, 2010
In the next month, Congress will debate whether to update the Child Nutrition Act, which governs the National School Lunch Program, and help determine the health of over 30 million children who eat at public schools all across the country each day. The Child Nutrition Act establishes what food can and cannot be served in schools and therefore has a tremendous impact on the health, well-being, and many would agree, academic success of our nation’s students.
As both a teacher and the leader of Slow Food First Coast, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about food that is good, clean, and fair, I am distressed by the alarming statistics: one in four American children is overweight or obese, and one in three will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. Though many factors contribute to these health problems, it is indisputable that many children learn or reinforce their healthy or unhealthy eating habits at school, and the food they are served in school cafeterias has contributed to this crisis.
Slow Food First Coast, in coordination with Slow Food USA, has launched the Time for Lunch Campaign to call on Congress to make appropriate changes to the Child Nutrition Act and National School Lunch Program that will set our children on a healthier path.
We are asking Congress to invest in our children’s health by increasing funding for school districts to be able to spend more money on real food, rather than junk food. We are encouraging Congress to strengthen the regulations that govern what food can and cannot be sold in school cafeterias and vending machines and to update the nutritional standards that are used as guidelines. Finally, we are asking Congress to offer incentives to school districts to “Buy Locally” and fund innovative educational programs like school gardens and Farm to School projects, which teach students the value of fresh, wholesome foods and the need to support local farmers, jobs, and communities.
As the nation debates the future of our health care system, the health of our children is an investment that no one can argue against. Our current system is inefficient, unhealthy, and costly. Implementing the changes listed above would not only create a new generation of happier, healthier, more productive children, it would save millions of tax dollars in future health care costs. And that is something we can all agree is worthwhile during these uncertain economic times.
Please contact your Congressman and Senators and stand up for our children by demanding that Congress update the Child Nutrition Act so that millions of young Americans can get the healthy food they deserve in their school cafeterias.
Leader, Slow Food First Coast
CALL, E-MAIL, OR WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN OR SENATOR:
(to e-mail, simply click on the Congressman or Senator's name)
3000 North Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Suite 1
St. Augustine, Florida 32084-8600
1650 Prudential Drive, Suite 220
Jacksonville, FL 32207
1301 Riverplace Blvd, Suite 2218
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
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