Schools are the front lines in the fight again childhood obesity. They are where our kids spend most of their days and, in many cases, eat half of their calories. Until the passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, staples in the school cafeteria included pizza, french fries and chicken nuggets.

It’s no wonder we’ve been losing the obesity battle, with one in three American young people being overweight or obese.

With the new school nutrition standards established by the act, however, children now have better choices in the lunch line. Ninety percent of the nation’s schools are meeting the standards — a huge win for children’s health.

Kids are eating 16 percent more vegetables, 23 percent more fruit, more whole grains, and less sugar, fat and sodium. With the Smart Snacks requirement set to go into effect in the upcoming school year, foods sold a la carte, in vending machines and school stores also will offer more nutritious options for students.

Unfortunately, some members of Congress are pushing legislation that would allow schools to withdraw from or delay the school nutrition standards. We cannot afford to hit the pause button on children’s health by suspending these requirements.

We need to tell Sen. Angus King that America’s school lunch program works and helps our kids live with less risk of heart disease and stroke. Don’t undo the strong progress we’ve made by putting special interests back on school menus.

Lori Kaley

Mount Vernon


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