Some say new meal guidelines should be scrapped

On Sept. 27, Daily Show host Jon Stewart lampooned last week's media coverage of the video made by Kansas students protesting the new school lunch standards.

On Sept. 27, Daily Show host Jon Stewart lampooned last week's media coverage of the video made by Kansas students protesting the new school lunch standards. by Phil Cauthon

Though this year’s new school lunch guidelines are generally a hit with nutrition experts and school officials, Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, a Republican who represents the state's largely rural 1st District, said that’s not what he’s hearing from parents and students.

“Parents are frustrated that the lower calorie limits are leaving their children hungry, and therefore unable to concentrate in the classroom or without the energy they need to participate in after-school sports,” Huelskamp told KHI News Service.

Weeks after the guidelines went into effect, some students in his district made a music video protesting the guidelines:

Give me some seconds I need to get

some food today My friends are at the

corner store Getting junk so they

don’t waste away.

The video — called “We Are Hungry,” spoofing a pop song by the band Fun — has been viewed nearly 800,000 times already, and last week was covered widely by the national media and was featured on Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

Much of the video shows student athletes without energy and passing out en masse.

However, federally funded school lunches are not intended to serve as a sports training table for student athletes, said Cheryl Johnson, who heads the Child Nutrition and Wellness program at the Kansas State Department of Education.

She said the guidelines were intended to make sure school lunches provide one-third of the average daily calorie needs of students, by age group.

Johnson said that additional helpings of fruits and vegetables remain available and federally subsidized for those who want them and that students who want seconds of other items can always purchase them.

Push to repeal the guidelines

The new guidelines were championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, in part to help stem the rising tide of childhood obesity in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a third of all children in the U.S. were overweight or obese in 2008.

The new guidelines include the first-ever caps on calories provided in school meals, which Huelskamp said were misguided.

“Childhood obesity is certainly a problem in America, but it is not the prerogative of the federal government to put every child on a diet,” Huelskamp said. “It is the right and responsibility of the parents to counter their children’s health issues.”

Huelskamp is co-sponsoring legislation that would repeal the new nutritional guidelines and reinstate the old ones, which had been in place for 15 years.

"The USDA's new school lunch guidelines are a perfect example of what is wrong with government: misguided inputs, tremendous waste, and unaccomplished goals. Thanks to the Nutrition Nannies at the USDA, America's children are going hungry at school," Huelskamp wrote in press release unveiling the “No Hungry Kids Act,” co-sponsored by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.

Watch the Sharon Springs video and continue reading at khi.org.

Tagged: obama, guidelines, lunch, kansas, usda, education, michelle, school, huelskamp, nutrition

Comments

Marilyn Hull 1 year, 11 months ago

I've heard a detailed presentation on the new standards. They are not perfect and need some tweaking, but it would be a terrible shame to throw them out.

I hope Mr. Huelskamp educates himself well before jumping to conclusions.

1

colicole81 1 year, 11 months ago

No child should be "going hungry". There is food available to each child. They are welcome to have as much or as little as they wish. Now, if children choose not to eat what is offered then they must not be that hungry! I have volunteered in my daughters cafeteria and I have joined her for lunch multiple times this year. I am glad to see that the schools are offering healthy choices. I wish that there was more variety, but if given the choice between limited healthy options and an array of unhealthy options I would choose the former. They are absolutely right that it is the parents job to "counter their children's health issues". Unfortunately, there are parent who don't fulfill their duty, whether it be due to laziness, lack of care or financial reasons. I appreciate that the schools have made it easier for me, as a mother, to ensure my children are eating nutritious, healthy foods! Please don't take a step backwards!

2

Joel Hood 1 year, 11 months ago

Good heavens. If you don't like the sacrosanct school lunch program, opt out. Pack your children's lunch and send it to school.

1

countrygirl 1 year, 11 months ago

My 13 year old son is coming home from school starved because he's not getting enough to eat at school for lunch most days. He likes the lunches and doesn't want to pack a sandwich when his friends are eating pizza, but they need to bring back seconds. These are busy growing kids and they can't concentrate in school if they're hungry.

1

tvc 1 year, 11 months ago

Is there a reason your son can’t pack a snack?

0

George_Braziller 1 year, 10 months ago

Have you ever been a 13 year old boy? We had hollow legs. Went back for seconds and thirds and fourths at the cafeteria to fill my belly and then still went home for something to eat before dinner.

I was growing so fast and burning so many calories I had to eat all the time just to keep up. A "snack"? For me that would have been something like a 500 calorie burrito just to make sure my pants didn't slide down past my hips.

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Centerville 1 year, 11 months ago

"Though this year’s new school lunch guidelines are generally a hit with nutrition experts and school officials" Ha! Not true, but par for reporters who only shill for the libs.

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