The funyun lobby just took a well-deserved hit.
As Matt Drudge and other right-leaning news outlets continue to hammer first lady Michelle Obama’s school meal standards with headlines like “Two slice limit on salami” and “Michelle O Lunch Rules: ‘You cannot buy a Tic Tac.” First of all, the nutrition standards are not exactly the first lady’s idea, are they? They were published by the USDA, of course. But bashing the school standards and Michelle O is a popular past time these days.
But wait a second. Not all Americans are fed up with the government’s attempt to orchestrate healthier school meals.
New data from a poll released Monday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association show that a big majority of parents of school kids support strong nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold during school.
From a news release about the poll:
- 72% favor national standards for school meals.
- 72% support standards for school snacks.
- 91% support requiring schools to include a serving of fruits or vegetables with every meal.
- 75% think salt should be limited in meals.
- The majority of parents are concerned with the state of children’s health (80%) and with childhood obesity (74%).
The poll reported most parents hold a mixed or negative opinion of the nutritional quality of snack foods and beverages traditionally sold in schools and consider them to be only somewhat or not at all healthy. This applies to foods sold a la carte (69%), in school stores (72%), and in vending machines (81%).
The Agriculture Department’s “Smart Snacks” standards, which took effect on July 1, 2014, represent the first major updates to national guidelines for school snack foods and beverages in more than 30 years. To meet the standards, a snack food must be a fruit, a vegetable, protein, dairy, or whole grain; have fewer than 200 calories; and be low in fat, sodium, and sugar. These guidelines follow similar nutrition standards for school lunches that took effect during the 2012-13 school year and are being met by approximately 90% of school districts.
TK: America won’t always have Michelle Obama to kick around. But providing Congress doesn’t screw it up, American school students should see healthier foods in schools for years to come.