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Let’s Get America’s Kids Eating Healthy: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Signed into Law

December 13, 2010  • 

As profiled in the September 2010 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, over the past year, Rachael and the Yum-o! team met with Congressional representatives in Washington, DC, wrote letters, made phone calls and held press events to raise awareness about the Child Nutrition Act. On Monday, December 13, 2010, President Barack Obama signed S. 3307, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, into law.            Photo: Melissa Golden

This legislation improves and strengthens federal child nutrition programs, including the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, school breakfast, school lunch, after school and summer meals and meals served in childcare settings, and ensures that more children will be able to eat local, healthy produce by helping communities establish farm-to-school networks, create school gardens and incorporate more local foods. It also increases the number of healthy meals available to needy children and provides the first real increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches in more than 30 years. In addition, the legislation removes junk food from schools by requiring schools, for the first time, to apply nutritional standards to food served outside the cafeteria.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act answers President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s call to reduce childhood hunger and support school and community efforts to reduce childhood obesity. The First Lady has said that improvements to child nutrition programs are a key pillar of her Let’s Move initiative to end childhood obesity.

"In these tough economic times, when so many families are struggling…when school meals are the main source of nourishment for so many children…we have an obligation to make sure those meals are as nutritious as possible. By improving the quality of school meals – and making sure more children have access to them – that is precisely what the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will do. Because while it might seem counterintuitive, child hunger and childhood obesity are really just two sides of the same coin. Both rob our children of the energy, strength and stamina they need to succeed in school and in life…and that, in turn, robs our country of so much of their promise. But both can be solved when we come together to provide our children with the nutritious food they need and deserve," said the First Lady.

Watch President Obama sign the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act!

In Rachael’s words, "The Child Nutrition Act is more than a year overdue, so I am happy that this legislation has passed. It will improve the access our kids have to quality food in the schools they attend. This is an important down payment on future investments that will still be needed to create a nation where the words ‘childhood’ and ‘obesity’ are never connected, and where no young people feel the pains of hunger."

"Despite many hurdles along the way, Rachael never gave up on supporting the best bill possible, and the personal stories and commitment from Yum-o! supporters kept her momentum going. While there is still work to be done, together we’re making great strides for child nutrition," said Yum-o! Director, Andrew Kaplan.

You can view the details of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, here. To stay connected with Yum-o! and receive family-friendly recipes, tips for the kitchen and ideas to inspire change in your schools and communities, subscribe to the monthly Yum-o! newsletter.