House Gives Final Approval, Bill Headed to President's Desk
Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, applauded House passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to reduce childhood hunger, promote health through improved nutritional quality, reduce childhood obesity and improve program efficiency. The bipartisan, fiscally responsible bill, which passed the House by a vote of 264-157, has broad support among public health groups and child advocates across Colorado.
“At a time when childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing and child poverty is increasing, this bill couldn’t be more important,” Bennet said. “This is one of the most significant investments we can make in our kids’ futures. Kids must be well nourished to succeed in the classroom —kids who eat right, learn better.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 makes monumental investments that will reduce childhood obesity, and childhood hunger. The bill streamlines enrollment in summer, afterschool and school meal programs, improves program access, increases reimbursements to schools that provide healthier meals, and strengthens local school wellness policies while raising standards for foods sold in schools and promoting farm-to-school efforts.
“Colorado’s kids were counting on Senator Bennet - and he delivered,” said Kathy Underhill, Executive Director of Hunger Free Colorado. “We are grateful for Senator Bennet’s leadership to ensure children have access to the food they need to become healthy, productive citizens and keep our state great. He has been a consistent champion, ensuring the passage of this vital legislation. Because of his work, kids will go to bed with a belly full of nutritious food.”
“If we give our kids the ingredients they need to be healthy – nutritious meals and opportunities for physical activity, they are more likely to be better students and to grow into healthy adults,” said Anne Warhover, president and CEO of The Colorado Health Foundation. “On behalf of the Colorado Health Foundation and the communities we are privileged to serve, we applaud both Senator Bennet for his unwavering leadership on Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act and the United States Congress for coming together on behalf of the nation’s children.”
“I’m glad that our children will not have to wait for another legislative session to get healthier school lunches,” said Stephen R. Daniels, MD, Ph.D., pediatrician-in-chief at The Children’s Hospital, and chairman, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “This much-needed bill will provide more needy children with more nutritious meals, as well as improve the quality of the food for all children. This reauthorization will enable schools to offer more fresh fruits and vegetables to students instead of processed and high-fat foods and provide healthier snacks rather than candy and chips.”
“Passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids act is a huge win for Colorado kids,” said Chris Watney, President, Colorado Children’s Campaign. “With childhood poverty, hunger and obesity all on the rise in Colorado, this legislation will address all three issues by expanding access to healthy foods in schools and making sure kids get the nourishment they need to be successful in school and healthy in life. We thank Senator Bennet for his leadership on this issue and applaud lawmakers for making this important investment in the health and well-being of our children.”
Bennet cosponsored several measures within the bill—the Hunger Free Schools Act, The Promoting Child Health and Protecting School Lunch Act and the Growing Farm to Schools Program Act—versions of which were included in the final package. He also authored a State Childhood Hunger Challenge Grants Provision, which was adopted in committee and included in the bill.
Specifically, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will:
- Expand afterschool meals for at-risk children;
- Connect more eligible low-income children with school meals;
- Help schools improve the nutritional quality of school meals;
- Allow establishment of science-based national nutritional standards for all food sold in schools;
- Strengthen local school wellness policies;
- Help schools protect their food service budgets;
- Improve accuracy of school meal eligibility certifications; and
- Improve food safety requirements for school meals programs
The bill passed the Senate in August, and it will now be sent to President Obama for his signature into law.
For more information on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, please click here.