President Signs New Child Nutrition Law
President Obama signed the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act or Childhood Nutrition Re-authorization into law Monday December 13, 2010. The bill creates after school food programs in all 50 states, reduces red tape and paperwork for qualification for child food programs, mandates electronic or EBT cards for the WIC program and expands summer food programs. This bill is good news for those who serve children, impoverished communities and advocate for the health and well being of families.
The after school food program is needed in Utah by families who are using food stamps that only cover a portion of the food needs of a family. This bill ensures Utah kids won’t go hungry in the evenings. Summer food programs were expanded and 200 million dollars in summer nutrition grants have been made available. Additionally certified child care providers will also qualify for some food assistance in order to better afford to feed children for what is traditionally a low for profit business. Schools with extremely high poverty rates will be exempted from cumbersome paperwork and allowed to authorize children in a streamlined process.
The bill also makes nutritious food more available in schools and keeps many unhealthy foods out of vending machines and school stores. High fat milks will no longer be served in schools and the Secretary of Agriculture will then be responsible for setting school nutrition standards.
Many nutritionists agree that the nutrition provisions are a necessary step to stem the projected future rates of diabetes. Rates of diabetes are projected to be as high as 50% by 2020 in the United States.