Volunteers for the American Heart Association and constituents in Albuquerque, NM, Denver and Fort Collins, CO, Jackson, Casper and Cheyenne, WY, urged their elected officials to “Step Up to the Plate” for Healthy School Meals. In December 2010, the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) was passed and signed to update the national nutrition standards for school meals. Now, 100% of schools in Colorado and New Mexico, and 99% in Wyoming, have stepped up to the plate and rejected meals loaded with salt, fat, and sugar.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 represents a major step forward in our nation’s effort to provide children with healthy and nutritious food in schools. Over 31 million children receive meals through the school lunch program, and many children receive most of their meals at school. With one out of every three children in America now considered overweight or obese, schools often are on the front lines in combating childhood obesity and improving children’s overall health.
The HHFKA has several noteworthy provisions:
- Strengthened local wellness policies by creating more accountability and better implementation.
- Gave USDA the authority to establish national nutrition standards for all foods sold on the school campus throughout the school day.
- Provided additional funding to schools who meet the new guidelines.
- Created Smart Snacks standards, which states that all snack foods outside the meal programs meet nutrition standards.
Together, volunteer advocates are working across the country to reach out their representatives. This reauthorization presents an important opportunity to show how the new programs more effectively address the nutritional needs of children.