Nation

Michelle Obama speaks out on lunches

First Lady Michelle Obama pumped her first while speaking to school nutrition experts.

Reuters

First Lady Michelle Obama pumped her first while speaking to school nutrition experts.

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama turned uncharacteristically political Tuesday, pushing back against a measure pending in the Republican-controlled House that would let some schools opt out of federal dietary standards for school lunches.

The standards, approved by Congress and the president in 2010, set limits on sodium, fat, and calories, and require that unhealthy menu items be replaced with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Advertisement

Some big food companies and Republican lawmakers have criticized the rules, calling them inflexible, ineffective, and expensive. Representative Robert B. Aderholt, an Alabama Republican, has attached language to a spending bill that would waive the requirements for financially ailing school districts.

In response, Obama met with a half-dozen school officials Tuesday who attested to the success of the new standards in their school systems. The standards have been introduced gradually over the past two years.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

“The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids’ health,” Obama said at the meeting, adding that “rolling things back is not the answer.”

Sam Kass, the director of Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to reduce childhood obesity, acknowledged “legitimate challenges” for some districts in carrying out the standards.

But he cited academic studies showing that, overall, children were eating healthier foods because of the standards.

Advertisement

The School Nutrition Association, which represents cafeteria administrators, issued a statement Tuesday calling the rules “overly prescriptive” and citing Agriculture Department data that showed a drop in school-lunch participation since the standards were adopted.

New York Times

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com