US government acts on junk food in schools

Legislation to ban candy, sugary drinks

The Obama administration is moving this week to ban candy and sugary drinks from US schools as part of the fight against childhood obesity, the New York Times reports. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce that all vending machines in schools be “filled with nutritious offerings to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our nation’s children,” and first lady Michelle Obama is expected to lead an initiative against childhood obesity. While it’s popular with Democrats, Republican support is uncertain: Senator Saxby Chambliss, the ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, has not yet made it clear whether he’ll support a ban on junk food, and other Republicans said they’d wait and see. The legislation would reauthorize the government’s school breakfast and lunch programs, banning sweet treats and requiring schools to offer more nutritious food, which could be expensive. While the administration has proposed spending $1 billion more each year on the $18 billion meals program, some school officials worry it’s not enough. The bill would exempt bake sales, parties and other occasional offerings of sweet snacks, causing others to wonder what else will be exempt.

New York Times