Dear Chairman Kohl,
I am writing to you today to urge you to address the destructive report language included in the House-passed Agriculture Appropriations bill that recommends the elimination of the national school lunch and breakfast program's nutritional standards.
Last week, the Republican majority on the House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill for FY'12 that recommends that the USDA halt implementation of the new nutritional standards for school breakfasts and lunches. The recently passed Child Nutrition bill included this provision because meals containing more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy will help combat diet-related disease in children.
The Child Nutrition Programs serve as an incredibly important benefit for 56.16% of children in our nation. For many children, the lunch they receive at school is the only opportunity they have to eat fruits and vegetables. This is especially important considering that in a recent report the USDA found that 16 percent of households with children reported food insecurity.
In addition, the childhood obesity rate is skyrocketing. In the last 45 years, the childhood obesity rate has increased from 6.5% of children to 17% percent of young children. And it is costing us as a nation. A recent report by the Centers for Disease and Control estimates that obesity costs nearly $150 billion a year in increased healthcare costs and lost productivity for our nation.
Our nation's children deserve healthy meals provided at school so that they can live up to their potential and not suffer from diet-related disease such as obesity, Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I urge you not to include the destructive nutrition standard language in the final Appropriations bill.