Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack previewed the Obama Administration’s legislative priorities for reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act that is currently being considered by Congress on a conference call with reporters.
This legislation, renewed every five years, provides the outline for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs which serve more than 31 million children in more than 100,000 schools across the country.
Vilsack discussed some of the priorities, which include eliminating barriers that keep children from participating in school nutrition programs, improving the quality of school meals and the health of the school environment, and enhancing program performance. On Wednesday, Vilsack appeared at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama to discuss these priorities.
Earlier this week, the Institute of Medicine released a study that had been commissioned by USDA which noted that children are eating far less dark green and dark orange vegetables and fruits than they need, far more refined grains and far too few whole grains, and too few low fat or non-fat dairy products. This trend unfortunately puts children at increased risk for a variety of obesity-related conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.
Listen in in Secretary Vilsack’s conference call.