Yesterday, an ABC Good Morning America (GMA) crew visited the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago. Why was GMA at a small neighborhood school on the Second City’s southwest side on a frosty day in January? To help underscore the importance of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s recent announcement of proposed changes to school meal standards.
“With many children consuming as many as half their daily calories at school, strengthening nutritional standards is an important step in the Obama administration’s effort to combat childhood obesity and improve the health and wellbeing of all our kids,” the Secretary said as part of a major announcement yesterday that was praised by Administration officials and nutrition advocates across the country.
GMA decided to feature the Academy and its students during its broadcast of the Secretary’s announcement because its meals already conform with USDA’s proposed rules. In fact, late last year the school was awarded the Department’s Gold Medal of Distinction for improving the health, nutrition and fitness of students through USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge.
I decided to visit the school during GMA’s visit there and what I saw was impressive. For lunch, plenty of healthy options were served—from teriyaki chicken with broccoli, carrots and almonds, to colorful fresh berries—and the students were devouring the food. In fact, some of the students (pictured below) delighted in showing me—and the film crew—their clean lunch trays.
While it was easy to get distracted by the cameras and microphones, I was most excited to see children eating healthy and nutritious food as part of USDA’s school meal program. And with the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 13, 2010, and these proposed rules, America’s children are likely to get a whole lot healthier.
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