Status of Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act

We are hearing more news lately, both good and bad, about nutrition in United States’ school cafeteria’s. Over the last few weeks we have been looking into how schools are becoming healthier for students—briefly mentioning the Child Nutrition Act.  But where does the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act actually stand?

To give a little bit of history—it was first recognized in the 1960’s when the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 was created to meet the nutritional needs of children in the most effective way possible.

In June 2004, the child nutrition reauthorization bill, called the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, was signed into law.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Healthy Fundraising website describes the purpose of the reauthorization as a way to bring several improvements to child nutrition programs by “expanding the availability of nutritious meals and snacks to more children in school, in outside school-hours programs and in childcare; and improving quality of foods in schools.”

The bill is supposed to be revised every five years, but was extended in 2009 for one year.

Last Thursday, September 30, the bill was set to expire, but the House of Representatives delayed the vote.

“The vote was delayed until after the autumn recess instead of passing a two-month extension of the overall federal budget.  The Senate unanimously passed their version of the bill in August,” Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) says.

Despite the current version not having proper funding to fundamentally transform school food, the HSC says it does “have the potential” for the health of children to be significantly benefited as it will put in health-promoting policies in place right away.

The bill addresses obesity and hunger as well as small increases in reimbursing schools for meals provided to students but in an article by AgWeek, they explain the Senate recently passed a bill reducing future food stamp benefits by $2.2 billion to pay part of a $4.5 billion increase in school meal budget for the next 10 years—which is objected by Anti-hunger advocates as well as 100+ Democratic members of the House.

“This is not a perfect bill,” says HSC. “It still leaves schools with very limited resources to provide school food, and we urge Congress to find funding for the bill without taking funding from food stamp benefits.”

They encourage people to take action and to ask lawmakers to support a timely reauthorization. The “Take Action” section of their website is for those interested in sending a letter to their U.S. representative.

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