Polis Leads Fight Against Childhood Obesity in Schools
Washington, Mar 17 -
In an effort to curb the childhood obesity epidemic, which First Lady Michelle Obama has called “one of the greatest threats to America's health and economy,” Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) today introduced H.R. 4870 – The Healthy School Meals Act – that will fight obesity and related costly diseases by expanding children’s access to healthy alternatives in schools.
“Childhood obesity has tripled over the past thirty years, and children are increasingly afflicted with adult diseases—including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension—as a direct result of their unhealthy diet and lifestyles,” said Polis. “The easiest way to stop kids from eating fatty foods is by providing them with the healthiest options possible, but many schools simply cannot afford them. This bill will help a growing nationwide effort to improve children’s eating patterns by encouraging and supporting schools to offer more healthy eating options.”
The Healthy School Meals Act makes plant-based foods more affordable and available for schools to purchase and provides incentives for schools to provide them to students through their federally-funded breakfast and lunch programs. It also removes restrictions on providing healthy drink alternatives with school lunches, thus improving the nutrition of millions of children who often lack vital nutrients because they are lactose intolerant or do not drink milk for religious reasons.
Key provisions of H.R. 4870 – The Healthy School Meals Act:
“Schools want to serve healthy meals, but they need help from Congress," says PCRM nutritionist Kathryn Strong, R.D. "The Healthy School Meals Act would give school cafeterias the power to offer more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat plant-based options. All students, including those who are vegetarian or lactose-intolerant, deserve healthful options in the lunch line."