The Trump administration yesterday took action to dilute school lunch nutritional standards pushed by former First Lady Michelle Obama, allowing schools to offer less healthy foods to students, despite staggering rates of childhood obesity in the U.S.
The proposal to lay waste to one of the former first lady's cornerstone achievements just happened to come on her birthday. Anybody believe that was just a coincidence?
In yet another effort by President Trump to undo key achievements of the Obama administration, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the new rules were needed because school kids are throwing away the healthier foods they are being served and there is just too much waste.
"Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals" he told The New York Times. "We listened and now we're getting to work.;"
Yea, they listened alright. They listened not to nutritionists trained in child health, but to the food and snack industries which vigorously fought the Obama rules.
However, we can call BS on tPerdue's claim because USDA's owns research analyzing the effects of the Obama regulation that requires more fruits and leafy green vegetables in school lunches and restricting snacks proves that claim is just so much garbage.USDA's own 2019 "School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study" said there was no dramatic change in the amount of food waste as a result of the Obama rules, and that there was better participation in school meal programs as a result.
The watering down of the school lunch program comes as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents aged 2-19 years is 18.5 percent, affecting about 13.7 million children and adolescents.
Other key CDC childhood obesity facts:
Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds.
Hispanics (25.8%) and non-Hispanic blacks (22.0%) had higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic whites (14.1%).
Non-Hispanic Asians (11.0%) had lower obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.
Low Income Kids Hurt
Vox points out that for many low-income children, school is the only opportunity to access a nutritious meal. It said that for the 30 million students who depend on free and low-cost school lunches subsidized by the federal government, the relaxed nutrition standards could be "hugely detrimental."
Vox added that "the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was a game-changing way of providing low-income students with healthy meals — by relaxing these rules, the Trump administration is exacerbating a system where only those who can afford to eat healthy will be able to do so."
Research from the Food Research and Action Center says that the Trump plan could result in childhood obesity rates rising even further.
Dr. Rachel Borton, director of the Family Nurse Practitioner online program at Bradley University, argued in an op-ed for The Hill that poor eating in childhood can have lasting effects by forming poor eating habits.
“If those students don’t have access to the nutritious options provided by the school, they may turn to low cost, processed foods that are high in calories but sparse in nutrients. Immediate effects of this type of diet include weight gain and poor physical health,” Borton wrote. “Long-term impacts range from increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and a slew of other unfortunate health outcomes.”
Thanks, Trump administration. Another example of your selling out the American people to satisfy your big business supporters, and to take another stab at President Obama.