First lady responds to school meal critics

The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids' health," Mrs. Obama says
Associated Press
May 28, 2014

 

First lady Michelle Obama is striking back at House Republicans who are trying to weaken healthier school meal standards, saying any effort to roll back the guidelines is "unacceptable."

The rules set by Congress and the administration over the last several years require more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the lunch line and set limits on sodium, sugar and fat. The first lady met Tuesday with school nutrition officials who said the guidelines are working in their schools.

The event was an unusual move for the first lady, who has largely stayed away from policy fights since she lobbied for congressional passage of a child nutrition law in 2010.

"The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids' health," Mrs. Obama told participants.

An agriculture spending bill approved by a House subcommittee last week would allow schools to waive the standards if they have a net loss on school food programs for a six-month period. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., who wrote the bill, said he was responding to requests from school food directors who have said the rules are too restrictive. The School Nutrition Association, which represents school nutrition directors and companies that sell food to schools, has lobbied for changes to the standards and endorsed the House bill.

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the spending bill this week.

At the White House event, school nutrition directors from New York City to Los Angeles to a rural county in Georgia told the first lady success stories about implementing the standards and said they would be disappointed to see any roll backs.

"We're not just talking about food, we're talking about education," said David Binkle of the Los Angeles Unified School District. He said participation is up in his district, along with test scores and graduation rates, since they made school foods healthier there.

The first lady asked the group for advice about how they can better respond to schools that are struggling, and suggested that the conversation should be focused on helping those schools rather than rolling back some of the standards completely. She said the government and schools can also do more to work with students to get them interested in what they are eating.

The president of the School Nutrition Association said Tuesday that the school officials invited to the White House weren't representative of those who have concerns.

"Our request for flexibility under the new standards does not come from industry or politics, it comes from thousands of school cafeteria professionals who have shown how these overly prescriptive regulations are hindering their effort to get students to eat healthy school meals," said SNA's Leah Schmidt.

The schools pushing for changes say limits on sodium and requirements for more whole grains are particularly challenging, while some school officials say kids are throwing away fruits and vegetables that are required.

The Agriculture Department, which administers the rules, has tweaked them along the way to try to help schools that have concerns. The department scrapped limits on the amount of proteins and grains that kids could eat after students complained they were hungry. Last week, USDA announced it would allow some schools to delay serving whole grain pastas just hours after the House subcommittee approved the opt-out language.

Not all school groups are lobbying for changes. The national PTA is pushing lawmakers to keep the standards intact.

"At a time when families are working hard to live healthy lives, school meals should be supporting families' efforts, not working against them," PTA President Otha Thornton wrote to members of Congress.

 

Comments

YoMamma

"The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids' health," Mrs. Obama told participants. LMAO, that's just plain funny. You can't make this stuff up!

From the Grave

This is why we are all doomed...

freespeech1

Thousands of schools have dropped out of her program, GOOD! Her and her worthless liar of a husband need to just go away.

deertracker

You shouldn't waste your free speech on stupid comments! Your choice though!

Contango

Re: "stupid comments!"

FINALLY, something you know about. :)

deertracker

"OMG, do you have to drink a jug of that stuff every single morning?" asked Mrs. Pooh.

"It's not a jug, it's a mason jar." responded pooh!

Contango

Re: "OMG (snip)"

To quote you: "You shouldn't waste your free speech on stupid comments!"

deertracker

To quote you: "Finally, something you know about :)."

Contango

Re "Finally, something you know about,"

You're correct: The FACT that you're an expert in stupid comments.

freespeech1

Whatever Sherlock, the reason kids are fat today is because of lack of outside activities. Years ago baseball fields were always full of kids playing pick up games and such, today they lay empty. Video games and other tech have turned our kids into cyber zombies. School lunches are NOT making kids fat and we don't need this clown of a woman telling us what we will feed our children. You may want a nanny state of mindless drones but myself I want to run my family the way I see fit. Government has no business dictating every aspect of our lives.

deertracker

No, that's the reason more kids are fat there brainiac. Fat people have existed for....EVER. Just a lot more now.

Fromthe419

Four words can explain why obesity is rampant in this country....High Fructose Corn Syrup. I put on a few pounds over the years and I started looking at what is in the the food I eat, since January I dropped 30 pounds and now I'm close to my college years weight. Cut that garbage out and you'll be amazed what our children would look like.

Contango

Re: "I dropped 30 pounds,"

Diet and exercise - there ain't no magic.

Haranguing by the First Lady accomplishes neither.

Contango

Centrally planned social engineering seldom works.

If kids won't eat it and throw it out, where's the benefit?

More Bolshevik, 'feel good,' 'well-intentioned' BS.

"No Appetite for Good-for-You School Lunches":

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/0...

deertracker

You guys are less intelligent than I thought. You do realize these are the youth of tomorrow? How can you have a problem with healthier eating in school? SMDH!

Is Bolshevik your "big" word for the week?

Look around you...America is FAT!

Contango

Re: "problem with healthier eating in school"

Again: Feel-good, taxpayer funded, central planning nonsense.

"Bolshevik." If the 'shoe' fits, wear it Comrade deer.

Donegan

These youth of tomorrow will get skinny when they are destitute and starving because Washington and the Left has sold them into debt.
You never see a fat person in the soviet food lines?

deertracker

Dummy, please stop. You sound ridiculous!

Donegan

I forgot, You along with the rest of your ilk think the bill will never come due. I wonder what your children will say in 20 years about your stupidity.

The Big Dog's back

The question they will be asking is why did you let our planet go to he!!. Because of a few dollars? Really?

Donegan

Pretty sure borderline starving people who are destitute could give a dam about what you think is a clean environment. Will you admit to contributing to turning the country into a third world sh** hole? Nah you'll blame it on someone else because that all you people are good at.

Contango

Re: "Dummy (snip)"

To quote you: "You shouldn't waste your free speech on stupid comments!"

jazzbo

Donegan -

The Repubs are helping America stay skinny by cutting food stamps.

WeThePeople1965

This program smells politically fishy-- good thing it's not mandatory. The schools don't need to be told how to feed the kids, it's not school lunch that is causing obesity, it's what they eat outside of school and lack of physical activity. What's next-- food rationing to 'control obesity'?

Informed

School lunches certainly do contribute to obesity. When they are getting little nutritional value, and nothing but unhealthy fats and simple carbs, how can you honestly say that doesn't contribute to obesity?

ladydye_5

They are not eating healthier in school. The kids throw it away. The lunch ladies tell them, they need to take it, but they don't care what they do with it after they leave the line. It is a complete waste of money. The school wastes money buying it, the parents waste money buying it and the kids throw it all away. I do NOT know any child, of any age that eats cut up tomatoes and peppers as a vegetable. That is a an option on the line at our school. There is NO dip, no salt/pepper. Nothing. But they have to take it, then they throw it away. Same with whole wheat buns. The kids take them off and just eat the hamburger (if you can call it that, the mystery patty with fake cheese). Bring back the lunch ladies cooking real food. Not the government funded can of crap, that is heat and serve.

Silliness

Some people just don't realize the school lunch is pretty much all the nutrients some children get in a day. Yes, it's true, for some. If they aren't eating it because of taste/content they just aren't eating. It's sad, but it's a fact of life.

wetsu

ladydye_5 is spot on.

Informed

My child eats peppers all the time--no dressing or dip, prefers it that way. And we eat whole wheat bread, including hamburger buns, every time we eat bread. So you are wrong.

deertracker

Very nice looking woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

beepx22

She looks like a stained glass window

JMOP's picture
JMOP

LMBO!

deertracker

Glad you agree! Stained glass windows are beautiful.

jazzbo

I think she's a very nice looking woman too.

ohioengineer

While most people would agree that providing a school meal for kids who aren't getting enough to eat at home is good, increasing the cost of these programs with bureaucratic standards is not so good. Our goal should be to feed as many kids as possible. Yet this latest program does just the opposite by forcing school officials to make a Hobson's choice between reducing the number of lunches or stealing money from other hard-pressed school programs to comply with the standards.

Ms. Obama can wrap these standards in the cloak of "good health" and trot out shills to push the program (one is reminded of the "doctors" in borrowed white coats that the administration dragged out to support Obamacare); but at the end of the day it is all about increasing the size and power of government. Call it Common Core or good nutrition, we are rapidly loosing control of our schools.

SamAdams

Let's see...

1. It's expensive to the point where some schools are opting out SOLELY because of costs.

2. It's worthless given the amount (and kind) of food kids throw out.

3. It's inadequate for many students, in particular the athletes (numerous stories have been, and continue to be, published about this).

4. It's none of Michelle Obama's business (only made worse given her lack of expertise).

Yep, it's a progressive Democrat program all right!

I'm not saying that school lunches shouldn't be low cost or no cost to kids who might only get that one meal a day. I'm not saying they shouldn't be nutritious (at least in relative terms). But the combination of expense and the unpopularity of the program among those who have to eat the results alone ought to be enough to let schools and parents decide, NOT Congress or the White House!

JMOP's picture
JMOP

I can speak as being the kid (back in the day) that my only meal was at school, and if it was fish patty day forget it. I would rather starve, and most times they served that on Friday.

I was a picky eater and poor growing up. I'm sure I would've had some severe health problems now if they served this crap back then. I never would have touched half of this stuff.

deertracker

Sadly, your situation was a blessing in disguise!

Florence Nightingale

The government can recommend standards all they want - but mandate? No. As Sam said above - let schools and parents decide!

deertracker

No problem, just pack you kids' lunch!

Donegan

Meanwhile, We have yet to break into the top 20 nations on earth for Reading, Math and Science, Have no fear the Libtards are making sure the children are not eating salt on their pink goop.
http://www.geographic.org/countr...
I personally think keeping children stupid is part of their goal. With a country full of Deertrackers, Big dogs and Coasterfans the Libtards can stay in power forever, shepherding the morons from one promise to another.

lor70

What does she mean "not playing politics" with our kids health?! That's exactly what she is doing! I've heard many good points on this board, but the one I like the most is....it isn't the government or Mrs. Obama's place to tell me what my kids can eat or can't eat!! That's up to me! I totally understand that kids need to eat healthier, but nothing wrong with letting them have a cookie once in awhile!!

Stop It

Wide Glide Butt has no business telling anyone how to eat.

OH-IO

That's the problem. Schools and parents did decide and got it wrong and now there's an obesity problem for our children that's unheralded in other countries. It's not about blaming it's about fixing. Surely I'm not willing to let the politics of some of you commentors get in the way of helping children that need help. Your ignorant if you don't know there's a problem. People are dying from bad health in their 20's and 30's increasingly and diet is the reason. I wouldn't care if it was Michelle Obama or your mama; help is needed. If they don't do anything they'll look back 10 years from now and realize they should have. For the children soon to be adults, it would be a travesty. Alot of parents let their children eat anything and cause them health problems. Fast food 5 times or more a week?

observer

Anybody with a butt that big has no business advising anyone what to eat!!

JACKEL

Keep your nose on vacation and out of our lives. Let the states as originally designed run their own schools. We don't need another lawyer who had to give up their license telling us how to run our business.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Mooch Obigbum is a food Nazi, but ol’ thunder thighs never met a plate of food she didn’t like.

deertracker

What a Christian like statement!

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Thanks! We do always tell the truth, unlike your lord, Teleprompter Jesus.

jazzbo

thinkagain--

I'm curious.
Is there a name for your version of Christianity ?

deertracker

Always tell the truth? That statement is a lie. What is the BFD about a teleprompter? That's you and the haters way of trying to characterize him as dumb when we all know he is not.

You are a false prophet. You do not act or think like a Christian. You are closer to the DEVIL!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Isn't it wonderful when you get to tell other people what to do and then not have to do it yourself? It would seem that at the Sidwell Friends School where the Presidential family and many other political families send their kids, they "let them eat cake" so to speak.

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/05/...

It seems this is a diet rich in irony.

deertracker

You guys are really over the top. I don't think her butt is big at all, especially for a woman that tall. I would suggest some of you look behind yourself before you criticize. She is NOT telling anyone what to eat or do. It baffles me that anyone would have a problem with her or anyone else promoting healthy foods in school. Have you any ideal where school food is purchased? Didn't a school around here serve ants not too long ago? It ranks right up there with prison and nursing homes. Take a look at the size of kids today. Did you see some of the prom pictures? I did! It's not all due to immobility. If things aren't regulated, the big corporations will sell you ANYTHING! Wake up and stop biting off your noses to spite your faces.

The Big Dog's back

Sad to say but the right wingnuts will remain at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to common sense.

Rusty of Sandusky

Funny thing is, the bottom of the totem pole is actually the MORE prestigious position. The totem pole analogy -- as it has come to be used and understood today -- is actually flawed.

http://curiosity.discovery.com/q...

Stop It

Alright. I've already posted a pic of comparing the first ladies butt to a 1959 Cadillac. Let's try a 1961 Lincoln Continental:

http://files.conceptcarz.com/img...

Dr. Information

says Michelle as our nations debt clock spirals out of control. Yeah, lets not play politics with our kids.

Whiskey in a Teacup

Bumbling idiots. Health reform is intended to promote preventive health. If your children are eating crap I hope u took advantage of health insurance because they will need it. Kids do eat what they are taught to eat. MY kids eat fresh vegetables, they have an acquired a taste for healthy food because I feed them healthy foods. They eat wheat bread because they PREFER it. I raised them on whole wheat. MY kids played sports and didn't sit indoors being lazy because I wasn't a lazy parent.
The point is entirely lost on the majority of you. Bless your heart___

Contango

Re: "Health reform is intended to promote preventive health."

Another 'nice' liberal idea that doesn't work on a large scale.

The majority wait until they're sick to go to the doctor.

How many were taught diet and exercise as part of a school curriculum, yet 70% of health issues are due to:

Smoking,
Obesity &
Lack of exercise.

Obviously most weren't paying attention - waste of taxpayer money.

deertracker

Not most just you as usual.

Dr. Information

Looking more like Oprah each and every day. Must cost a fortune covering that caboose.

deertracker

Yep, looks like a billion dollars to me!

The Big Dog's back

Yes she does!

Stop It

It's cost more than that.

reddog

I can not believe that people truly waste their time here by making the argument that feeding kids crap in school is a good thing. Mind. Blowing.

It doesn't matter if Obama says it or if Sarah Palin says it: feeding our children healthy foods at lunch IS a good thing. Suggesting that pizza is a vegetable and ice cream sandwiches are "dairy" are not okay. Some of you would argue it's okay to eat lead paint if a politician you don't like said otherwise.

You want to feed your kids lousy, high caloric, high fructose corn syrup foods at home, you are free to do so, but I when I send my kids to school, and pay for their lunches I expect that someone in charge of the lunch menus are going to provide some modicum of a healthy standard.

Contango

Re: "feeding kids crap in school is a good thing."

I don't believe that ANYONE here is making that absurd argument.

The basic point: One size fits all centrally planned big govt. programs are wasteful, inefficient and expensive.

Better to filter down responsibility to the local level for greater accountability and feed-back.

deertracker

Most of you are not making an argument, just spewing hate!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I can't speak to the people who talk about her butt, I have no problem with it. But as Contango pointed out this is about a far-removed, distant, one-size-fits-all approach that is failing to work because these are decisions that should be made on the local level. There is nothing hateful about that. Removing politics, even if science is used to analyze numbers, "plate waste" is a real issue as illustrated in this study (look at others if you'd like, this is just one): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubm...

deertracker

You don't need science to know and see that one in thee kids are obese. Chances are if you have three kids one of them is obese. Who says one size fits all? I didn't read that.

There has always, always been plate waste. That in no way suggests you should fill the plate with garbage.

Like I said, feed your kids as healthy a meal possible and if they don't eat it they will be hungry.

Be a parent, good one.

looking around

Well said REDDOG as you pointed out what seems to be the catalyst here is that the First Lady is involved and the blind hatred that the Republicans have for this administration has had a pronounced effect on their thinking process, perhaps it is a bi product of years of poor nutrition during their formative years.

REPUBLICANS/FAIL

White Bigot

If it were left up to Mrs. Obama, our kids would eat nothing but fried chicken and watermelon at school.

KURTje

The same venom displayed @ Michelle like her husband. I'd rather spend an evening with the Obama's than either of the Bushes.

looking around

^^^^ agreed