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USDA to Make School Lunches Healthier


Michelle Obama may be on her way to becoming better known as a gardener, beekeeper and health advocate than the First Lady. Her White House garden, which includes bee hives, has become the focal point for her tenure as First Lady, advocating healthy diet and exercise, especially for American children.

Mrs. Obama's Let's Move! Campaign led to the President signing the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 just over a month ago, which is focused on providing nutrition platforms to improve the health of students by eliminating nutritional deficiencies and risks for diseases including childhood diabetes and obesity.

The Lets Move Salad Bars to Schools Campaign initiative that Mrs. Obama aims to raise $15 million for, along with the Let's Move and Healthy Hunger-Free Kids initiatives led the USDA to announce a monumental upgrade to school lunch programs nationwide—the first of its kind in over 15 years.

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From the Organic Authority Files

Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack announced the proposed changes, which include: decreasing and limiting the amount of French fries that can be served, adding a meal calorie maximum because children consume 30-50 percent of their calories at school, and there are currently no caloric guidelines in place. Other changes include sodium reduction, the inclusion of orange and green vegetables and more money per child per meal for schools to help bring in higher quality foods.

Vilsack said the USDA is interested in looking at affordable ways to work with local chefs in finding more creative options to get tastier healthy foods on school menus.

And now, Wal Mart, the nation's largest retailer, announced drastic changes to its food offerings, garnering the support of Mrs. Obama. With Wal Mart making healthy food more readily available to its customers throughout the country, children will be exposed to healthful options outside of school as well, which both Obamas hope will reduce the risks of health problems currently afflicting our nation's youth.

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Photo: Ben+Sam

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