Congressional committee approves child nutrition billby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A bill in Congress that aims to improve and enforce nutrition standards for children in federally funded food programs on Wednesday cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee.
The bill, called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, changes the major domestic food assistance programs with an eye toward making sure they meet nutritional standards.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., worked on parts of the bill, including changing the Child and Adult Care Food Program to implement nutrition standards. Other legislation Klobuchar authored that is included in the bill aims to increase transparency and accountability for Local Wellness Policies.
In a statement, Klobuchar said improving the National School Lunch Program and other food programs for children would help fight obesity. About one in four young children in the U.S. are obese or overweight, and those conditions can lead to long-term health problems.
"A significant number of kids rely on these programs for meals everyday and ensuring that they have access to nutritious food is important not only for their own well-being, but for the well-being of our nation," Klobuchar said.
The child nutrition bill includes a $4.5 billion funding boost for child nutrition, which includes an increase in the reimbursement rates schools get for providing meals.
Besides changes to the food programs, the bill would give the Secretary of Agriculture authority to oversee the sale of all food and drinks at schools.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.