First Lady Michelle Obama Lauds Work of School Nutritionists: ‘Our Kids Don’t Stop Learning at Lunch Time’

By Matt Loffman

Mar 1, 2010 4:20pm

ABC News' Karen Travers reports First Lady Michelle Obama told members of the School Nutrition Association that they are on the front lines in the fight to end childhood obesity and have as much influence as parents do in the lives of millions of Americans students. “Our kids don’t stop learning at lunch time. Every day with the food you serve you’re teaching them these critical lessons about nutrition and healthy eating,” she said. “You’re shaping their habits and their preferences and you’re shaping the choices they will make for the rest of their lives.” The remarks to school nutritionists were part of the First Lady’s new initiative, “Let’s Move,” aimed at ending childhood obesity. The program centers around four key areas: helping parents make healthy eating and lifestyle choices for their families; serving healthier food in schools; increasing access to healthy and affordable food and increasing physical activity among the nation’s youth. The First Lady said that over 30 million American children who participate in the National School Lunch Program and National School Breakfast Program consumer almost half their daily calories at school, making school nutrition a key element to combating childhood obesity and educating kids to make healthy choices. Mrs. Obama said that after World War II the most common disqualifiers for military service was malnourishment. Today, she said, one of the common reasons is obesity. The First Lady acknowledged the budgetary challenge that schools are facing in providing healthy meals and snacks for students. She said that the current federal reimbursement is just $2.68 -”less than what folks spend on a cup of coffee in the morning,” she noted. She credited the Obama Administration with making a “historic new investment” toward updating the Childhood Nutrition Act, $10 billion over 10 years. Mrs. Obama said that small changes in the school cafeteria can make a big difference in the number of calories kids consume at school including switching from 2 percent to 1 percent milk, switching away fruits served in heavy syrup, and substituting low fat salad dressing. She said that over the course of a year those changes can mean the difference in a child being at a healthy weight or not. -Karen Travers

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