President Obama and Congress came one step closer to making a healthy future for our children a reality today. This morning President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act into law, taking an important step toward helping children incorporate healthy lifestyles and prevent obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes.
So what does this mean?
The Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act is a bipartisan investment in school nutrition programs. If current trends continue, one in three children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime – and for minority populations, that statistic is even more startling at one in two children facing a future with the disease.
So how do we change this? We change the current trends! Where do we start? One place is in schools! How does it work? Here’s a rundown:
- In with the good, out with the bad: The Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act will increase focus on the nutritional quality of school meals, and establish standards for all food available in schools. This means that school lunches will be healthier and that junk food in vending machines and other school areas will be removed.
- There may be a free lunch after all: Using data from Medicaid and census, the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act will improve access to the National School Lunch Program to help ensure that children in need will be eligible for these improved, healthier meals.
- Supporting the cause AND the means: Supports management for these programs, including food service budgets, skilled workforce and training opportunities; streamlines program administration and improves food safety requirements.
With type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity at epidemic proportions, now is the time to assess where we are and where we’re going, starting with healthy lunches…and maybe some freeze tag at recess!
Want to learn more about how you can get involved in diabetes advocacy? Learn more here.