House Democrats today officially introduced the "Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act."
The legislation mirrors key investments recommended by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in her "Let's Move" initiative for reducing childhood obesity and improving childhood nutrition and wellness -- including proposals to establish the first national nutrition standards spanning all foods sold in schools, and implement new school food safety standards.
In March, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry unanimously approved its own child nutrition bill, the "Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010," sponsored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark).
Like the House bill, the Senate legislation contains an unprecedented agreement between health groups and food and beverage companies to improve the nutritional quality of foods sold out of vending machines and other school venues outside of cafeteria meals.
Advocates such as the Healthy Schools Campaign and the Center for Science in the Public Interest are now urging the full Senate and House to pass and reconcile their respective bills and have final legislation in place by Sept. 30, the deadline for reauthorizing funding in order to continue federal school nutrition programs.
Details of the bill were announced in a morning press conference led by U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, along with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), chair of the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities; Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.); and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). Child nutrition advocates - including celebrity food chef Rachael Ray -- were also on hand.