First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the national conference of the School Nutrition Association in Washington, DC, on March 1 and received an enthusiastic response from the attendees, not surprising considering that she is advocating for many of the same policies that SNA is lobbying Congress for. These include more funding for school nutrition programs, streamlined procedures for qualifying children to receive subsidized school meals and national nutrition standards for so-called competitive foods sold in schools.
Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, announced in early February, highlighted her concern over the issue of childhood obesity by advocating not only better nutrition but more physical activity, and she made many of the same points in her address to SNA. She highlighted a number of school programs that have made inroads into serving healthier, fresher dishes and noted some of the Administration’s initiatives aimed at addressing the problem, including a proposal to spend an additional $10 billion over the next decade on child nutrition.
She also outlined her own initiatives, which include working to educate parents about obesity and the need for healthy lifestyles, and a commitment to end what she referred to as “food deserts,” areas without access to supermarkets, within seven years.
“And in the end, that’s what this is all about—ensuring that we build well for the future,” she summarized. “Ensuring that our kids are ready to learn, that they’re ready to serve their country, that they’re ready to make healthy decisions for the rest of their lives.”