Health

Michelle Obama Blasts School Nutrition Rules Rollback

Former First Lady Michelle ObamaFormer First Lady Michelle Obama

During an annual health fair in Washington, former first lady Michelle Obama spoke out on the Trump administration's retraction of many initiatives previously implemented to make school lunches healthier.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on May 1 signed a proclamation that will delay the implementation of many school nutrition standards, effectively rolling back many of the planned nutrition targets for school lunches, according to CBS News.

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"Moms, think about this," said Obama, according to the Independent. "Think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap."

"Here's the secret," Obama added. "If somebody is doing that, they don't care about your kid."

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Obama had previously championed a campaign to reduce the levels of salt, sugar and fat in school lunches, but the USDA reported states and school districts spending $1.22 billion more in 2015 with decreasing student participation.

Obama shot back against popular concerns that health restrictions make students more reluctant to eat federally subsidized school foods, according to the Washington Examiner.

"How about we not let kids completely guide everything?" said Obama. "How about we stop asking kids how they feel about their food? Kids, my kids included, if they could eat pizza and french fries every day with ice cream on top and a soda, they would think they were happy, until they got sick."

Obama emphasized that millions of students across the nation eat subsidized school lunches, making the push for healthier options all the more important.

She asserted that healthier options were in kids' best interest, even though they are not the most popular option:

That to me is one of the most ridiculous things we talk about in this movement, that the kids aren't happy. Well, you know what? Kids don't like math, either. So what are we going to do, stop teaching math? We gonna cut history out because there are kids who are bored with history? We are the adults in the room, you know? They look to us. So let's just stop with that. I'm good if kids are mad at me.

The rollback effort by Perdue has long been advocated by many Republican lawmakers, something Obama noticed.

"You have to stop and think, 'Why don't you want our kids to have good food at school?'" Obama said. "Why is that a partisan issue?"

Perdue asserted that the restrictions resulted in increased food waste.

"If kids aren't eating the food, and it's ending up in the trash, they aren't getting any nutrition -- thus undermining the intent of the program," said Perdue, reports ABC News.

The USDA secretary also defended the former first lady's platform against childhood obesity, and emphasized that the rollback effort was only temporary.

Another rollback effort sought to do away with stricter nutrition label requirements.

"Keep families ignorant," said Obama of the nutrition label requirement rollback. "That's all I'm hearing. You don't need to know what's in your food. You can't handle that, mom. Just buy this, be quiet, spend your money ... I would be highly insulted by that thought."

Sources: Independent, Washington Examiner, ABC News, CBS News / Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr