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Healthier School Lunch: It's the Law

school lunch, child nutrition

Soon-to-be school lunch of the past?

Today, President Obama officially outlawed junky school lunches — sort of. With a focus on bringing healthy food to more children, Obama gave schools more funding and better guidelines when feeding children. He also set the stage for eventually eliminating sugary drinks and nutrition-less snacks from school campuses all together.

Obama signed into law the landmark legislation Congress passed which should go far in making nutritious food available to thousands of more children and also keep subsidized junk out of the lunchroom spotlight.

At a Washington, D.C., elementary school, Obama signed the new law. He said to the crowd of kids and supporters:

“At a very basic level, this act is about doing what’s right for our children.”

The $4.5 billion law boosts nutrition programs at schools in several ways:

It bumps up the federal reimbursement rate for free and reduced lunches by 6 cents, which should help many schools afford to provide the meals. The measure also provides funding so that 20 million after-school meals can be provided for qualifying children around the country. Right now, most schools can only afford to serve snacks for children who stay after hours.

The law also ensures that money meant for healthy food can’t be diverted into less healthy options over in the a la carte lines, some that has been shown to undermine efforts in the school kitchen to encourage kids to make healthier choices.

Improving school lunches, supporters hope, is one strategy in helping improve health in U.S. children. Rising obesity rates have been blamed, in part, on a lack of fresh, nutrient-dense food at home and in schools, something supporters of this law hope will improve.

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