Nate Galt | United States
Recently, President Donald Trump has cancelled rules for school lunches signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama. He is rolling back several integral aspects of Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Despite praise from Trump’s inner circle, most notably his Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, the action is a handout to the dairy industry at the expense of schoolchildren’s health. The gutting of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act allows for unhealthy extra sodium and for more sugary drinks, such as high-fat chocolate milk. President Obama signed the Act into law in order to help students eat healthy and to prevent obesity. Particularly those from lower income food-insecure households. The elimination of some rules for school lunches is part of the Trump administration’s larger plan to slash the education budget.
Major Changes to School Lunches
There are several other changes schoolchildren might see in their lunches. For example, breads, cereals, and pastas were previously required to be at least 50% whole grains, which are rich in many vitamins and minerals that can help children concentrate at school.
The alternative, or processed grains, according to several medical experts, lead to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. High in sugar, flavored milks are now allowed to be served to students. A single carton of flavored milk has four teaspoons of sugar. This is extremely unhealthy and can be a direct cause of obesity and diabetes. Obesity has skyrocketed in American children, and half our youth will be overweight in the near future, with much of the blame being placed on unhealthy school lunches. Schools provide free or reduced-cost meals to many poorer students. This can be helpful for the family’s income and a crucial source of nutritious food.
Why is Trump Doing This and Why It Won’t Work
Although touted as a short-term solution, the attack on President Obama’s rules for school cafeteria food will only hurt taxpayers in the long run. These changes and relaxations of Obama-era regulations will put a lot of strain on Medicare and other public health programs as a result of poorer nutrition and higher rates of disease, harming the American taxpayer. For many poorer children, their lunch at school will be their only meal of the day. Making them unhealthier and putting them at risk of developing many unhealthy diseases and conditions is extremely unethical.
Trump is trying to make up for his massive corporate tax breaks. The Trump tax cut has increased the burden on lower-income families. Trump could end the War on Drugs or the nearly twenty year long military campaign in Afghanistan. Instead he decided to cut school lunches. Helping America’s billionaire class at the expense of poorer families and our children’s health is despicable.
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