BoardBuzz was pleased to see NSBA weighing in on Capitol Hill today. The federal government should provide a national vision that considers the different needs of local school districts and communities in promoting healthy eating and lifestyles for children, Reggie Felton, NSBA‘s director of federal legislation told the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today at a hearing on child nutrition. See NSBA’s official statement here and the entire testimony here.
Felton testified before the Committee on NSBA’s positions and recommendations regarding what role Congress should play in helping the nation’s school districts to improve nutrition in foods sold on campus. He argued that imposing federal mandates on schools and their communities is not the way to go.
“A national vision for child nutrition must reflect the understanding of current authority and Constitutional responsibilities of states and local communities, and redefine the role of the federal government so that it promotes national policies within the framework that supports states and local communities,” Felton said.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) chair of the Committee, plans to reintroduce legislation that would impose federal requirements on what types of foods can be sold in school outside the federally subsidized lunch and breakfast programs throughout the school day. NSBA opposes such legislation, see our recommendations here.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) Ranking Member of the committee and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) agreed that local school districts and their communities must have the flexibility to address nutrition issues. “The very junior partner in education is the federal government,” said Johanns. “[The local community] knows what’s best for these kids.”
State school boards associations across the country have been working with school districts to develop and implement local wellness policies. NSBA’s school health program also works with educators and communities to bring awareness of increases in obesity among youth and to promote healthy lifestyles.