FEBRUARY 05, 2013
As if the Obama administration didn’t have enough crises to deal with, it’s dedicating the resources of a federal agency to issue official regulations to ban potato chips, candy and soda from schools throughout the nation.
It’s an area that many Americans might agree doesn’t require government meddling but never the less the Obama administration is getting involved anyways. Under Michelle Obama’s $4.5 billion law to conquer childhood obesity in low-income neighborhoods, school lunches have already been overhauled by the government to include healthy and nutritious foods, especially in the inner city.
Now the agency charged with revolutionizing kids’ diets, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), wants to take it a huge step further by essentially banning schools from selling “junk food” such as potato chips and candy as well as soda. That’s right; bureaucrats at a federal government agency combined their creative juices to actually come up with a plan to eliminate chips and candy on campus.
Like most government agencies, the USDA doesn’t offer a condensed version of the rules but rather a torturous 160-page proposal. Here are the highlights; the agency wants schools to replace unhealthy snacks with those that are lower in fat, sugar and sodium. That means snacks with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and protein. The agency is thoughtful enough to consider allowing variation by age group for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content.
Here is another considerate move by the USDA, which is responsible for developing and executing policy on farming, agriculture, forestry, and food; it will make exemptions for “treats” during special occasions such as birthday parties, holidays and other celebrations. The agency will also allow schools to continue traditions like “occasional fundraisers and bake sales.” Wow, that’s a relief!
The USDA explains in its new regulations why it’s getting so involved in children’s diets. “The link between poor diet and health problems (such as childhood obesity) is a matter of particular policy concern because the relevant health problems produce significant social costs; imposing nutrition standards on competitive foods is one way to ensure that children are provided with healthy food options throughout the school day,” the USDA writes.
This is all part of a much broader initiative to revolutionize the inner city diet by providing fresh produce and grilled lean meats as alternatives to greasy, fried foods that tend to be more popular in the so-called “food deserts.” It’s been the First Lady’s mission since moving into the White House and she worked hard to get Congress to pass the $4.5 billion measure that will help fund it.
Michelle Obama even got her husband to appoint the family’s Chicago chef, Sam Kass, as “Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives.” The idea is to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation, especially in the nation’s inner cities. The First Lady claims that childhood obesity is a threat to national security and a crisis equivalent to AIDS and youth violence.
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