As an active, busy mom of two school-age girls, I try very hard to ensure my family is getting the good nutrition they need each and every day. It can be a challenge not only to put nutritious meals on the table every day, but also to combat the marketing of junk food that my girls are exposed to every day. I try to make the healthy choice the easy choice in our home. That is why it is important to me that our schools make the same commitment.
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I know that obesity is a growing concern among our youth. I also know that the health consequences of obesity in children are staggering. Obesity is a major contributor to chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. That’s why learning good nutrition habits early is so important.
Our children consume 35% - 50% of their daily caloric intake at school, where they are often exposed to junk foods and sugary drinks that have little nutritional value. Our kids are constantly being inundated with junk food marketing and healthy food choices are sometimes hard to find.
I encourage Congress to reauthorize the child nutrition Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to ensure that our schools continue to make improvements in the nutritious value of school meals. Not only does healthy school nutrition help combat childhood obesity, but studies have shown that kids perform better in school when they have good nutrition.
I know there have been challenges to meeting the nutrition guidelines of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, but let’s not give up on our children’s health. Let’s work together to ensure the healthy choice is the easy choice when it comes to school meals.