The United States Department of Agriculture unveiled new child nutrition reforms for school meals this week that include many reforms pushed through Congress last year by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-Mineola.
“A healthy student is a successful student – kids can’t do well in school when they’re hungry and tired,” said McCarthy. “I’m so glad and proud that the USDA is going to be implementing many of the reforms that I championed in my committee recently; hopefully we can reduce childhood obesity and improve grades across the nation thanks to these reforms.”
According to the USDA, the reforms include:
- Ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
- Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
- Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties;
- Limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and
- Increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
As chairwoman of the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee, McCarthy worked to implement child nutrition reform, including efforts to reduce childhood obesity by promoting lower calorie, less fattening, more nutritious foods like vegetables and fruits.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which McCarthy helped pass into law in 2010, contains provisions from legislation that she previously introduced to promote nutrition and wellness in schools and child care settings. Also during the 111th Congress, McCarthy introduced five pieces of legislation aimed at reducing childhood obesity and she was an original co-sponsor of the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act.
The Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee was eliminated from Congress when Republicans took control of the House in 2011.