The president of Kentucky’s public-interest health foundation is objecting to legislation recently approved by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to allow waivers from the school nutrition enacted by the Department of Agriculture in 2010.
Susan G. Zepeda of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky says in a statement sent to Kentucky news media that the foundation’s polls show that Kentuckians “want healthier foods in the schools,” but fewer than one in four Kentucky adults “described the meals at their children’s school or daycare as ‘very nutritious’.”
Zepeda notes that the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health showed that 35.7 percent of Kentucky children were either overweight or obese in 2011-12, that children living in poverty are more likely to be obese, and that polls show Kentucky adults think childhood obesity is a serious issue, and 78 percent of them approved of the new USDA meal standards, Zepeda notes.
The legislation would allow school districts that have lost money on meals for six months to ask for a waiver from the standards. Zepeda said “the major voice” for the bill was the School Nutrition Association, “a trade group of school food officials backed by such food companies as Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza and PepsiCo,” but “19 of the association’s former presidents have called on Congress to reject the waiver. We add our voice to this call.”
Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.