The Senate this week passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a bill that will provide $4.5 billion in child nutrition funding over the next 10 years. Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, a champion of this legislation and sponsor of the bill, said, this bill “will change the face of childhood hunger and obesity in this country.”
Along with the leadership of Senator Lincoln, First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrity food chef Rachel Ray stepped in to provide crucial public support. “Child hunger and malnutrition in the world’s wealthiest nation is morally unacceptable,” said Rachel Ray. In an op-ed published in The Washington Post this week, the First Lady urged Congress to pass this legislation to “bring fundamental change to schools and improve the food options available to our children.”
This bill couldn’t come at a more crucial time. According to the New York Times, since the recession began in late 2007, the use of federal free and reduced-price lunches has increased by 13.7%, with 21 million children benefiting from the program. Without these nutritious meals, many of our country’s children could be left with “a legacy of ill health.” In a study released this week by Harvard Medical School medical professionals concluded that younger children who were ever hungry because the family didn’t have food or money to buy it were more than twice as likely to suffer poor general health as those who were never hungry.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will address these issues by:
- Expanding program access to reduce childhood hunger
- Improving nutritional quality to promote health and address childhood obesity
- Simplifying program management and improving program integrity
For more details, please review the Agriculture Committee’s fact sheet on this important legislation.