The health of our Nation has always been a top priority for the President, First Lady, Secretary Vilsack and everyone in the administration. That is why I am thrilled President Obama today signed into law the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The historic bill ensures our children have the nutritional foundation to reach their greatest potential.
This Act is truly a groundbreaking win for our nation’s children and all of us who want the best for them. Among the major advancements, the Act helps reduce childhood hunger by increasing access to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or WIC. It also improves the nutritional quality of school meals and all food served in schools, and moves us much closer to ending childhood obesity in a generation. It will also grant schools that meet federal nutritional standards a 6 cent increase in the federal reimbursement rates for school lunches, the first increase in over thirty years.
As the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, the President and First Lady Obama understand how critical these improvements are to the wellbeing of our children and our nation as we rebuild our economy. We know there is strong correlation between a child’s diet and their academic success so it’s our duty to make sure our children have the proper nutrition to become healthy adults with the ability to succeed in school and compete in the global economy.
Did you know children who eat both school lunch and school breakfast can consume about half their daily calories at school? So the school environment plays a big role in the lives of children—helping them develop healthy habits that last a lifetime. During the summer when school is out, the Act will also help us reach and nourish more children. Currently only 2 million students participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) on an average summer day. It’s critical that we expand the SFSP and this Act will help us do that. In addition, the Act strengthens the WIC program that serves young children and their mothers. All in all, it represents a huge step towards raising a healthier next generation.