May 15, 2009
The Honorable Tom Harkin
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Harkin:
On behalf of the National Research Center for Women & Families, I am writing to express our strong support for S. 934, the “Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009.”
This bill would help reverse the skyrocketing childhood obesity rates in the United States. As you know, childhood obesity leads to serious, chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease-diseases once thought to only afflict middle-aged or older adults.
Your legislation would improve nutrition and fight the childhood obesity epidemic by establishing science-based nutrition standards for all foods served in schools-including foods sold from vending machines, school stores and snack bars. Selling junk food from vending machines and other sources undermines efforts to provide nutritious school breakfasts and lunches. Researchers estimate that 20 percent of the average increase in body mass index (BMI) in teens between 1994 and 2000 was due to the increased availability of junk food in schools.
With its science-based nutrition standards, the “Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act” should eliminate junk foods from our schools, which is a giant step towards reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. This common sense bill is not draconian and contains special exemptions for foods used in school-sponsored fundraisers.
For the above reasons, the NRC for Women & Families strongly supports your legislation, which will help to significantly improve the health of an entire generation.
Diana Zuckerman, PhD