The USDA has officially come for the Obama’s healthy eating initiative, put in place during their time in the White House.
It was announced in May 2017 that the USDA was looking to roll back the legislation that required schools to serve less sugary foods and more nutritious offerings. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, went hand in hand with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign that targeted childhood obesity.
According to an USDA-issued press release, the new rules from the USDA allow schools increased “local flexibility in implementing school nutrition standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium.” Essentially it allows for more sugary milk, fewer whole grains, and increased salt intake.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the move empowers schools to make their own decisions as it pertains to healthy and appealing meals. “These common-sense flexibilities provide excellent customer service to our local school nutrition professionals while giving children the world-class food service they deserve,” Purdue said in the release.
Last year the Trump appointee criticized the former First Lady’s lunch program rules, citing that school students weren’t in favor of the healthy foods being served, and therefore, much of it was being thrown away.
“If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition – thus undermining the intent of the program,” Perdue said at the time.
In line with the administration’s practice to spout opinions as facts, Perdue’s assessment does not add up to the data collected from recent studies.
Research published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health shows that while it took kids time to adjust to healthy eating habits, they were taking in more fruits and vegetables and taking in less saturated fats.
The new rules allowing for the re-introduction of processed grains, salt, and sugary flavored milk, are official Wednesday, December 12.