Junk food in schools has always been a major issue, but first lady Michelle Obama is hoping to change things by pushing for healthier foods. She is running a prized anti-childhood obesity campaign that is designed to help children, but the Republicans are moving to soften part of this campaign.
As per Mrs. Obama, she's ready to fight this battle to the bitter end. She even made fun of the Republican's previous efforts to declare that the sauce on a piece of pizza should be considered a vegetable.
"Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches?" said Mrs. Obama. "You don't have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn't make much sense. Yet we're seeing the same thing happening again with these new efforts to lower nutrition standards in our schools."
Mrs. Obama was one of the persons who lobbied behind the scenes for Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This act requires more fruit, whole grains and vegetables in school lunches, along with less fat, sodium and sugar. It was a major win for the lobby, which turned out to be the first big update to school lunches in decades.
As it stands, however, the new standard appears to be backfiring, as many students are not purchasing the healthier lunches, which means the schools are suffering a loss.
Since the new standard took shape, the School Nutrition Association is reporting that more than 1 million students have chosen not to purchase food at school, and would likely go home for lunch instead. Clearly this standard isn't a success, and it needs to be revisited or put to rest completely.
"How can we call these standards a success when they are driving students away from the program?" said Diane Pratt-Heavner, a spokeswoman for the School Nutrition Association.
Michelle Obama will have a fight on her hands if she wants to convince the GOP to back off. She would likely have to come up with a plan to succeed the new standard, since it has failed to achieve what it set out to do in the first place.