President Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of child nutrition standards Monday, enacting a law meant to encourage better eating habits in part by giving the federal government more authority to set standards for food sold in vending machines and elsewhere on school grounds, CNN reports. Among other things, the $4.5 billion measure provides more money to poor areas to subsidize free meals and requires schools to abide by health guidelines drafted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To help offset the higher cost of including more fruits and vegetables, the bill increases the reimbursement rate for school lunches. The bill is about “giving our kids the healthy futures they deserve,” the president said during a bill signing ceremony at a Washington elementary school. “Right now across the country too many kids don’t have access to school meals.”

Even when they do, he added, too often the meals aren’t sufficiently nutritious. As a result, he said, one out of every three children in America is overweight or obese. Some Democrats had objected to the bill because it is funded in part by stripping $2.2 billion from the federal food stamp program. Congress also voted over the summer to take money from the program to fund legislation sending money to cash-strapped states to avoid teacher layoffs. The cuts largely negate a spending increase provided to the food stamp program by the 2009 economic stimulus plan. Administration officials reportedly have promised anxious liberals that they will work to find ways to restore the higher funding levels…

Click here for the full story

About the Author:

staff and wire services reports