Letter to House in Support of the Nutrition Standards for School Meals
June 14, 2011
On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like express our strong opposition to provisions in the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would repeal new nutrition standards for school meals adopted under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
NEA believes that proper nutrition is essential to child development and student success. Our members working in schools and classrooms across the country see first hand the link between good nutrition and learning. It is clear that access to an adequate and healthy diet is an essential factor in academic achievement.
Childhood obesity has been a growing problem for decades. We now face a national childhood obesity crisis, with nearly one in every three of America's children being overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to severe and chronic health problems during childhood, adolescence and adulthood, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and asthma. And, the associated health risks impose great costs on families, our health care system, and our economy. Each year, nearly $150 billion is spent to treat obesity-related medical conditions.
NEA strongly supported provisions in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requiring school meals to contain more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. These common-sense requirements are essential to ensuring all children a healthy and successful start in life, particularly those whose families cannot afford to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods at home on a regular basis. The benefits and cost-savings to our children and our nation in the long-run will be significant.
We urge Congress to reject efforts to undermine these important nutrition standards.
Director of Government Relations
Manager of Federal Advocacy