The Trump administration on Friday announced plans to roll back healthy school lunch standards on vegetables and fruits originally promoted by Michelle Obama in an effort to reduce childhood obesity, unveiling the proposal on the former first lady’s birthday.
Trump’s Agriculture Department claimed in a press release that the new standards will allow schools more flexibility “because they know their children best,” the Agriculture Department said in a press release.
“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals. We listened and now we’re getting to work,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.
Under the new rules, schools would be allowed to reduce the number of fruits and vegetables required at each meal.
The latest change follows the Trump administration’s 2019 rollback of restrictions on milk and sodium content in school lunches originally put in place by Obama as part of her “Let’s Move!” healthy living campaign. The Obama administration’s school lunch plan increased the requirement for fruits and vegetables in meals, cut trans-fat and reduced sodium levels in food. It also required cafeterias to serve only skim or low-fat milk.
Critics said the change will pave the way for greasier, more unhealthy foods such as pizza, french fries and burgers.
“[It] would create a huge loophole in school nutrition guidelines, paving the way for children to choose pizza, burgers, french fries and other foods high in calories, saturated fat or sodium in place of balanced school meals every day,” Center for Science in the Public Interest’s deputy director of legislative affairs, Colin Schwartz, said in a statement Friday.
Dr. Rachel Borton, the director of the Family Nurse Practitioner online program at Bradley University, said healthy school meals are essential to both good physical and mental health, especially for low-income students who are more likely to receive their only healthy meal of the day while at school.
“If those students don’t have access to the nutritious options provided by the school, they may turn to low cost, processed foods that are high in calories but sparse in nutrients. Immediate effects of this type of diet include weight gain and poor physical health,” Borton wrote in an op-ed for The Hill. “Long-term impacts range from increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and a slew of other unfortunate health outcomes.”
In 2019, the first comprehensive analysis of the Obama administration’s lunch plan by the Department of Agriculture found the updates “had a positive and significant influence on nutritional quality” as students ate more whole grains, greens, and beans, as well as fewer “empty calories.”
According to the results of Trump’s 2019 physical, doctors revealed the president is clinically obese and now weighs 243 pounds. Trump’s weight increased by four pounds, from 239 to 243 pounds. Trump was advised last year to watch his diet, exercise more and lose weight.
Social media users slammed the Trump administration for announcing the rule changes on the first lady’s birthday.
The Trump administration announces plans to roll back Michelle Obama's school lunch healthy rules on her birthday.
Trump Remains Relentlessly Obsessed With Obama. https://t.co/6muT6KXgln pic.twitter.com/zTM7tT74ZP
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) January 17, 2020
BTW Trump did this on Michelle Obama's birthday – clearly it's by design bc she was pushing for healthier school lunches: USDA proposes changing school menus to allow more fries and fewer vegetables, reversing a Michelle Obama effort https://t.co/iYswiZftza
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) January 17, 2020
I miss @MichelleObama and loathe these vindictive, repugnant, craven, shit-for-brains Republicans that lack the decency to do the right thing and the dignity to recognize it.
Among Trump’s worst crimes is the irreparable damage he’s inflicting on our children and the climate. https://t.co/yA6XDRHj0O
— Josh Long (龙之春, जोश, Джош Лонг, جوش لونق) (@starbuxman) January 17, 2020
I do, Trump has a sick obsession with of the Obama’s. I just didn’t think he would make school lunches unhealthy. https://t.co/MkXk5roNrq
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) January 17, 2020
Because Ms. Obama was trying to help kids eat healthier and move more, Trump decides to make them more obese and less active. https://t.co/5tJMXtE0SU
— MalamaHonua (@honua_malama) January 17, 2020