First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama hit back at Republicans in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, slamming the party's attempts to roll-back and cut out healthy initiatives like the one that helps low-income moms buy fresh produce or the regulations on what school lunches must feed kids.
“We know that when we rely on sound science, we can actually begin to turn the tide on childhood obesity,” Obama writes, citing the falling childhood obesity rate for young children. “But unfortunately, we’re now seeing attempts in Congress to undo so much of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of our children.”
The first lady has fought childhood obesity for years advocating for healthier foods and activity through her Let's Move campaign. On Wednesday, she was named the eighth most powerful woman in the world for this work by Forbes Magazine's annual list.
House members are pushing a bill to “override science,” she notes, and include potatoes on the list of foods government money can buy through one government supplemental nutrition program for low-income women and their children, even though potatoes aren’t one of the nutrient-dense fruits or vegetables children actually need.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated occurrence,” Obama writes, going on to criticize House Republicans for trying to alter the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed by mostly Democrats in 2010, that mandates school lunches must include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods.
“Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense. Yet we’re seeing the same thing happening again with these new efforts to lower nutrition standards in our schools,” she writes. “Our children deserve so much better than this.”