Obama signs child nutrition bill
December 13th, 2010
11:01 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama signs child nutrition bill

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of child nutrition standards Monday, enacting a law meant to encourage better eating habits in part by giving the federal government more authority to set standards for food sold in vending machines and elsewhere on school grounds.

Among other things, the $4.5 billion measure provides more money to poor areas to subsidize free meals and requires schools to abide by health guidelines drafted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To help offset the higher cost of including more fruits and vegetables, the bill increases the reimbursement rate for school lunches.

Among other things, the $4.5 billion measure provides more money to poor areas to subsidize free meals and requires schools to abide by health guidelines drafted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To help offset the higher cost of including more fruits and vegetables, the bill increases the reimbursement rate for school lunches.

The bill is about "giving our kids the healthy futures they deserve," the president said during a bill signing ceremony at a Washington elementary school. "Right now across the country too many kids don't have access to school meals."

Even when they do, he added, too often the meals aren't sufficiently nutritious. As a result, he said, one out of every three children in America is overweight or obese.

Some Democrats had objected to the bill because it is funded in part by stripping $2.2 billion from the federal food stamp program. Congress also voted over the summer to take money from the program to fund legislation sending money to cash-strapped states to avoid teacher layoffs.

The cuts largely negate a spending increase provided to the food stamp program by the 2009 economic stimulus plan. Administration officials reportedly have promised anxious liberals that they will work to find ways to restore the higher funding levels.

The measure has been a top priority for first lady Michelle Obama, who has championed it as part of her "Let's Move" initiative to combat child obesity in the United States.

"Had I not been able to get this bill passed, I would be sleeping on the couch," the president joked shortly before signing the measure into law.

"We won't go into that," the first lady said. "Let's just say it got done. Don't have to go down that road.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Annie, Atlanta

    This is a long time in coming. When my oldest (now 25) was in kindergarten my husband and I joined him one day early on in the school year for lunch. It was disgusting. He had fish wedges (triangle shaped fish sticks) that were floating in grease. He took a lunch after that, until high school.

    December 13, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Pharmer Joshua

    Why do CNN and most mainstream media never actually mention what is inside of legislation? Do you just not realize the unintended consequences of legislation or do you just read the title of the bill, which is always positive since it is determined by the sponsors? Where has investigative journalism gone?

    December 13, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Me

    In the past two years the Democrats in Congress have done nothing but pass comprehensive legislation that will, in fact, benefit this nation in the long run. In spite of Republicans lying about the content of legislation, the intent of legislation and deomonizing their political opponents, the Democrats have been working FOR The People of The United States of America and NOT against them. We may not feel the benefit of all their hardwork immediately but there will be a positive effect. And even though these civil servants were abandoned by a fickle voting public, I say, "Well done thy good and faithful servant"

    December 13, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    And the RIGHT will have a problem with this............naming the PA'IN in the NECK!!

    The cry was to REDUCE health care cost by making people EAT RIGHT and visit their doctors early!!! That was the cry and the First Lady, believing she had a desire to combat obesity also – took on that challenge and was "CRITICIZED” by you know who!

    Now that MORE is being done to reduce childhood obesity and eventually, this will bring down health care cost, THERE WILL STILL BE COMPLAINTS, mainly coming from those who feel their RIGHTS are being intruded upon!!!

    President Obama is DAMNED if he DO (DOES) and DAMNED if he DON'T (DOESN'T)!!!!

    December 13, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Gov't Mule

    Now we need to do the same thing with food stamps. Ban the purchase of highly processed junk foods with food stamps and institute a program similar to WIC.

    December 13, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    So now the federal government is regulating vending machine contents? Is there no limit to the Nanny state these liberals want to impose on this country. I guess liberals are just too stupid to feed their kids good food. Maybe they just should not have kids if they don't know how to take care of them? Should would help alleviate a lot of government burden.

    December 13, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. William Jefferson

    republicons would notgo along until it was agreed that poor families would have to give up some food stamps in order to fund school lunches. Wouldn't want a one tenth of one percent increase in the taxes of millionaires or anything like that.....

    December 13, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Katz

    This is plain stupid. We are a country in financial ruins and this is what they come up with. My parents sent me to school with a lunch, no school paid for my lunch or anyone elses during those hard time. We have familes that can't afford to feed their children and your giving free nutritionaly food to kids in school. This is ridiculas. If you can't afford to feed your kids why have them, since when is it up to the government to pay for your breakfasts and lunchs. When do people go back to supporting themselves, if you can't afford it you don't get it. All these programs giving free hand outs while the working poor work to at least stay afloat.

    December 13, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Sooner1500

    I assume there are no diabetic children, lactose intolerant children or food allergic children. But of course the government with their “power to decide what kinds of food can be sold in schools,” has taken all of that into account.

    But now I’m really troubled. I mean, do we really have to stop with Cheetos? Can’t the government choose the kids toilet paper; it’s all biodegradable so it’s just a matter of Charmin, Angel Soft or Walmart or Dollar General. And what about chalk or those pesky off-brand crayons called Rose Art? Certainly the government will want Crayola crayons. Ahh, but maybe the key is whether they are made in China or America. But then what is made in America anyway? My what an overwhelming job it must be to be authoritarian and have to raise our own children in a government image.

    December 13, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. rdk

    Since when is the Federal Govt in charge of making our brains function properly?

    December 13, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. jules sand-perkins

    Pharmer Joshua, I believe that the kind of investigative journalism you remember disappeared with the last persons who understood Henry James.

    December 13, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Mad man

    Yeah right Me, comprehensive spending you mean that will be repealed come January... Working for the people, are you out of your mind, more like a 10% of a loonie fringe working for themselves in the on-going effort to collapse America to what they deem fit.

    December 13, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Purnell

    Taking food from the mouths of millionaires and providing it to low income kids? How did the President ever get this Marxist piece of legislationl past the GOP?

    December 13, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Cp.OR

    I think a few of you are missing the point. 1 out of 3 children in the US is obese. Some parents obviously aren't reading labels or paying attention to what they put in their child's body. We have an epidemic of diabetes that's been growing rapidly because of this. Making sure that schools aren't providing cheetos and other "sodium surprise" treats in the vending machines and making sure schools are giving our kids something healthy rather than greasy french fries and square "whatkindameatisthat" pizza is a great thing. People been getting lazy y'all!

    December 13, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Matrix

    Good intentions =/= good outcomes. Schools are not going to be able to afford giving kids good wholesome foods.

    BTW, this legislation will also make it difficult if not impossible to have bakesales and other fundraisers.

    Parents should probably be sending kids to school with their own lunches more than giving kids money to buy the disgusting cafeteria food (I always hated cafeteria food when I was in school).

    December 13, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. Name Gerge Washington New

    ...which means, the FDA never did a good job.

    December 13, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Look – I'm all for children getting proper nutrition... a THOUSAND percent. However, I really wish parents wouldn't consistently abdicate their responsibilities to the federal government.

    December 13, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. Bob

    Hard to be very critical of this when you remember GW's "No child left behind" program. When they made physical education not mandatory anymore, cut funding for school music programs, gave a small fraction to science programs and diverted the rest of the allotted money to the war effort. Obama is not perfect, but a far site better than GW.

    December 13, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. John

    Only Republicans could have a problem with this bill. I realize Robert and Mitzie have plenty to eat at their exclusive private schools, but this bill still benefits the rich. If poor kids are obese and out of shape, then who will enlist in the military to fight in the global wars of the wealthy?

    December 13, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. TJ

    The problem has never been poor nutrition in schools. I don't understand why the Corporatioins that sells all the food aren't being regulated more. Americans could eat better if we stop allowing private food corporations to put all those chemicals and bad ingredients in the "processed" food. I never understood why our country doesn't have more whole food markets similar to other countries...

    December 13, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Patriot4America

    Great! Now they can poison our children even more efeectively!! Why don't we just give up our souls to big brother!!! Of course they already have Aspartame in most baby foods, which is a well know poision. They allow fluoride into our drinking water which is also a know poison! And while we're at it, we could just have big brother wipe our rear ends too!!! Wake up people!!!! This is being done by design!!! Eugenic's 101!!!!!

    December 13, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. SaharahEve

    Thank you, Obama. It's about time people gave a voice to the Children. Time to put aside the callow finger pointing and make this about the Children. Their lunches are appallingly unhealthy.

    December 13, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Stark Raving Reasonable

    This will NOT ban bake sales or fundraisers. READ THE BILL! It specifically states that those are exempt. READ THE BILL before spouting off with Fax news BS.

    December 13, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |