Target: Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack
Goal: Create healthy and nutritious meal options for public school children
In 2012, the Obama administration enacted rules in order to ensure that meals provided to public school students would contain more fresh fruits and vegetables. This was done in order to combat the increase in childhood obesity, however, the House Appropriations Committee recently passed new legislation regarding school meals. The new bill reduced the amount of funds that would go toward school meals and created an “opt out” option for public schools that do not wish to comply with nutritional guidelines. Simply put, school meals no longer have to be healthy.
When nutrition guidelines for schools were first enacted, it was to deal with the widespread obesity epidemic. In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is a serious issue that needs to be addressed at the national level and taking away funding for nutritional meals is not the way that the government should be treating the issue.
If more money is allotted for nutritious meals in schools then it would decrease the amount of money spent on treating health issues related to childhood obesity. Michelle Obama wrote: “We already spend an estimated $190 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions.” The government needs to start looking at how things will fare long term. Imagine how much the nation will be spending a decade from now if action isn’t taken immediately.
The federal government’s budget must be adjusted in order to continue to provide nutritional meals in public schools. Healthy school meals are necessary if we want to slow the drastic increase in obesity and help children maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sign the petition below to urge Congress to increase the amount of funding for nutritious school meals.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Childhood obesity is a serious, nationwide epidemic that needs to be addressed immediately. Not only does it effect the health of children across the U.S., but it also has a negative impact on our economy. The U.S. spends an estimated $190 billion per year treating obesity-related conditions, and if something isn’t done to slow the obesity rate then that amount will only increase.
Schools need a larger budget in order to provide nutritious meals for students. There should be no reason for a school to provide unhealthy meals containing less than average food to young children. School-age children are in need of proper nutrition in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and taking away money from public schools’ food budgets is a step in the wrong direction.
Please reconsider the agriculture budget that was recently released. Providing healthy meals to school children would help put an end to the childhood obesity epidemic while also benefiting the American economy.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: USDA via Flickr