Congress is working on appropriations bills and school nutrition standards have been a hot topic in the agriculture appropriations debate. The House bill would allow schools to get waivers from these standards and the Senate bill would delay the sodium standards supported by the AHA. Other amendments of concern to health advocates have also been discussed. Thanks to AHA advocate interest and activation, in coordination with our larger coalition, we have been able to turn the debate around on this issue and ensure Members were hearing all sides on this important issue. Given differences on this issue and others, as well as the leadership shake-up in the House, it is looking less likely that Congress will pass an agriculture appropriations bill this year, and will instead aim to pass a continuing resolution.
Given what’s happening (or not happening) with appropriations, we will now shift our attention to a long-term strategy. Next year, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is up for reauthorization, which means many of the same battles we fought over the last couple months will emerge again. That’s why it’s critical that we continue to stress to Congress that the nutrition standards should not be delayed or weakened.
How can you help?
During the August recess, we will continue the drum beat on this issue, and we have an exciting drop-by activity for the recess break. Our message to Congress is that healthy school meals ‘fit’ into a successful school day for kids- and that we’re ‘puzzled’ by efforts to weaken or delay the important nutrition standards. To help our advocates deliver that message, we’ve created puzzle pieces, 4 of which fit together to display a healthy school meal and 1 showing unhealthy food that doesn’t fit. Each puzzle piece contains a fact on the back. We’re asking for your help to deliver these puzzle pieces to the district offices of targeted Members next month.
If school nutrition is an important issue to you, and you are concerned about obesity prevention, especially among our youth, then we need your help! Please email Pamela Miller and volunteer to do a drop-by visit at one of our federal district offices. Drop-by visits are a great way to earn You're the Cure points, as well as engage our federal lawmakers on issues important right here in our state. We will provide you with the puzzle pieces and a few talking points to assist you in your visit. Better yet - bring a child along with you and encourage their involvement on an issue that affects them directly!
August recess is the perfect time to talk with our lawmakers about heart-health issues - and school nutrition is on the top of the list! Email Pamela Miller today and volunteer to help put school nutrition puzzle together!