Slowly, but surely, things are starting to look up. Last week President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a nutrition bill that I believe is sure to reduce our country's overwhelming child obesity statistics. When enacted, this law will promote better eating habits by giving the federal government greater authority in setting the standards for food that is sold in vending machines and in school cafeterias.
The bill will provide $4.5 billion to subsidize free meals in low-income areas by using Medicaid data to certify eligible children. This amount is almost 10 times the current budget. The bill guarantees all children will receive well balanced and nutritious meals and warrant money be set aside for healthy school meals and not for the junk food. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will also tackle our country's hunger problem by providing free or reduced-price meals to nearly 31 million low-income children and their families. I truly foresee this bill helping lower child obesity rates.
I wrote, "The Food Cure for Kids, A Nutritional Approach to Your Child's Wellness" because I have been concerned about the amounts of processed, highly sugared and wheat foods children in the U.S. eat. I stress the importance of healthy school lunches, and how well-balanced nutrition will help children build brainpower, build self-esteem and build an appreciation for nutrition.
When announcing her "Let's Move" campaign, the First Lady described obesity as a problem that has become a national security threat. This quote is extremely poignant: "Military leaders ... tell us that when more than one in four young people are unqualified for military service due to their weight," which supports Mrs. Obama's assertion that "childhood obesity isn't just a public health threat, it's not just an economic threat, it's a national security threat as well."
The president and first lady agree that our next generation is in danger. We need to empower children to know what they are eating. Parents must take control of mealtime, and look at the ingredients not just calories. The longer the list of ingredients, the more additives there are. In the cafeteria, schools must play a parental role and choose foods that are going to enhance concentration and keep kids energized, while not causing hyperactivity.
The president says that the goal of this bill is to give kids the healthy futures that they deserve. He is right. With good food choices comes energy and wellness and ultimately success and the self-confidence to chase their dreams.