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Monday, December 13, 2010 - 8:47am

Bill Targets Healthy School Lunches

A new law signed by President Obama Monday hopes to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. The $4.5 billion effort takes aim at school lunch programs in Georgia and around the nation.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says this effort to reform school nutrition is “long overdue”.

“Bottom line is we want to help parents do what they’re trying to do at home which is to make sure their youngsters are well fed and fed nutritious meals.”

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act upgrades nutrition standards. It will also use Medicaid data to enroll poor children into school food programs. And schools that serve healthier foods will get more money for the effort.

Muscogee County Schools nutrition director Marian Bone says that will help her district serve healthier food.

“We’re trying to serve pizza with whole grain crust and increase the fiber recommendations. The new legislation will help us meet those demands too.”

Bone says this new federal law is a good step, but needs to work hand-in-hand with kids practicing healthy eating habits at home.

Concerning Georgia, Vilsack says the state shouldn’t have to go far to get healthier foods into its schools.

“There is an opportunity in Georgia because of the tremendous agricultural economy in Georgia to enhance fruits and vegetables, no question about that. You’ve got access to some of the best fruits and vegetables in the country—in the South.”

Recent studies show that Georgia is among the states with the most obese children in the country.