Pizza is a vegetable? Tell Congress to Promote Healthy School Meals
We thought we fixed this when Ronald Reagan declared ketchup to be a vegetable and most of our country laughed out loud. But apparently not. Earlier this week, Congress unveiled change to the National School Lunch program that will allow a few dabs of tomato paste to be considered a vegetable which means that a pizza is back on our kids' tables and obesity is here to stay.
Congress chose to look past the straightforward recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and instead get in bed with the American Frozen Food Institute and the National Potato Council to gut major policy recommendations from the bill. This unhealthy serving of corporate special interests will hurt America's children - all 55 million of our kids, particularly poor and disadvantaged kids who have to count on school for their lunches.
Our nation's schoolchildren deserve better. Tell Congress to support the USDA's work to improve schools meals. The health of our nation's schoolchildren is simply too important to be left to special interest groups like the American Frozen Food Institute or the National Potato Council.
But don't just listen to Earth Day Network on this one. Over 100 retired generals and admirals recently declared that the dire state of our nation's school food is a national security concern. Why? One-third of all applicants to the U.S. military are turned down because they are simply "too fat to fight."
The USDA had proposed school nutrition standards that would have doubled the overall amount of fruits and vegetables and would have increased whole grains and low-fat dairy, while reducing sodium, unhealthy fats and excess calories. Yet, lobbying from special interest groups has once again derailed some of these critically important improvements - improvements that would have given our kids a fighting chance.
Let the USDA finish its job of helping schools improve the nutritional quality of their meals. Tell Congress to get off the payrolls of those FAT cats and back on the side of our children.