While Michelle Obama’s school lunch reforms have received little support from Congress, the first lady has recently received considerable support from Mission: Readiness, a coalition of nearly 500 retired high-ranking members of the military, who have promised to “storm the Hill” over school lunch standards when Congress returns from recess in the fall, reports Politico.
In late May, the House Appropriations Committee passed an agricultural budget bill that will allow schools to opt out of nutritional guidelines set in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010 for a full year, a move which many have seen as an attempt in Congress to buy time until it can weaken those same standards when the law is set to be reauthorized in 2015.
So far, more than 90 percent of schools have already complied with the standards set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act — including introducing more fruits and vegetables, and decreasing the fat and sodium levels of food served — but the remaining schools have complained that the new guidelines are turning kids away from their lunches, and in turn, causing the schools to lose money.
Mission: Readiness, originally formed in 2008, is an organization which aims to ensure that children are healthy and educated enough to serve in the military, or be productive in the careers they choose.
According to data collected by the Defense Department in a report called “Too Fat to Fight,” a reported 75 percent of Americans 17 to 24 years old “are unable to join the military because they failed to graduate from high school, have criminal records, or are physically unfit.”
As American obesity increasingly becomes an issue of national security, the influence of its military leaders has been crucial to unifying those on opposing political sides.
“It’s not conservative common sense or liberal common sense; it’s just plain common sense” said Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, a retired Air Force veteran.
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.