On Friday, President Obama recognized October 12-18 as National School Lunch Week with an official proclamation. The message thanks hardworking school food service professionals, the tireless staff who demonstrate a daily commitment to providing schoolchildren with proper nutrition to enrich their lives in the classroom and beyond.
Since President Harry Truman signed the National School Lunch Act in 1946, schools have served more than 220 billion lunches! Meals that have enabled scores of American children the opportunity to grow, learn and thrive. And with more than 30 million students participating in the National School Lunch Program each day, balanced meals at school play a key role in fostering a healthier next generation.
Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), students are experiencing a healthier school environment with more nutritious options. Schools now offer more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, while at the same time limit less-healthy fats, sugar, sodium and excess calories. During National School Lunch Week, USDA celebrates these healthy strides and highlights innovative strategies to help schools nourish their students. Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a message of appreciation for all the school nutrition professionals making this progress possible:
School lunch is an essential part of every child’s health, development, and academic success. On behalf of the USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, I want to add my thanks to those whose contributions help make the healthy choice the easy choice for America’s young people.