A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the US Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, passed legislation out of their Committee to reauthorize WIC and the other Child Nutrition Programs last week. It’s called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The bill includes the reauthorization of the free and reduced lunch and breakfast programs along with better nutritional standards for the program.
There was some interesting support for the elements in the bill to improve the nutritional quality of foods in the program this week from a group called Mission: Readiness, which is an organization of retired senior military leaders. In a report released this week, they warned Congress that the recruiting pool for the military is shrinking because so many young adults are obese. The report says that 27% percent of all young adults don’t qualify for service because of their obesity. The opening of the report says that… ”Obesity rates among children and young adults have increased so dramatically that they threaten not only the overall health of America but also the future strength of our military.”
Incidentally, the original school lunch program was born out of military concerns about the fitness of children. In 1946, General Lewis Hershey was instrumental in convincing Congress to pass the original National School Lunch Act as a way to improve the nutrition of America’s children, increase their height and weight, and ensure America’s national security. At that time, recruits for WW II were undernourished creating a problem for the military. Now we have the opposite problem.