WASHINGTON — New school lunch standards aimed at getting kids to eat healthier have drawn fire from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
The new rules from the U.S. Department of Agriculture require that meals include certain helpings of fruits and vegetables and set caps, based on grade level, as to how many calories students can consume.
It's part of first lady Michelle Obama's efforts to get the country's young people to get fit. The Obama administration notes that one in three children is obese and that kids consume half their meals in schools. About 32 million students across the country will benefit from healthier lunches, according to the USDA.
But King said the calorie counts are misguided and will leave students with growling stomachs. King is running for re-election this November against Democrat Christie Vilsack, who is married to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
King recently introduced the “No Hungry Kids Act,” which would repeal the USDA rule creating the new standards and prohibit the calorie caps.
King says the school lunch program is intended to ensure that students receive enough food to be healthy and learn.
“The misguided nanny state, as advanced by Michelle Obama's ‘Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act,' was interpreted by Secretary Vilsack to be a directive that, because some kids are overweight, he would put every child on a diet,” King said.
He said parents “know that their kids deserve all of the healthy and nutritious food they want.”
Christie Vilsack's campaign pointed to King's fellow Iowa Republicans, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Tom Latham.
“Perhaps Congressman King should talk to Senator Grassley and Congressman Latham, both of (whom) supported the bill to make school lunches healthier for Iowa children,” Vilsack's campaign said.
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