Michelle Obama’s addition to ‘Let’s Move!’ campaign targets lunch, vending options

Lindsey Klos ’16

Guest Writer

The first lady is taking control! The nation has seen first lady Michelle Obama take part in many things since the Obama administration began in 2009. Along with supporting her husband and his initiatives, Obama has advocated on behalf of military families, planted the very first White House kitchen garden, supported education goals in schools nation-wide, advocated, along with her husband, for LGBT rights and started the Let’s Move! initiative to decrease obesity in children,

Recently, new health regulations in schools have been put into place by the USDA for healthier food options. This change was sparked by Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! campaign. The goals of the Let’s Move! initiative, now going into its fourth year, are to create a healthy start for children, empower parents to make the healthy choice for their kids, improve access to healthy, affordable foods in schools, and increase physical activity, according to letsmove.gov.

Many people might have already seen the healthy foods sneak their way into the school’s cafeteria, and some people do not like the new choices. Not only have healthier foods been incorporated in school breakfast and lunch menus, but also school vending machines also have restrictions as to what can be sold.

Also, schools that are a part of the nation-wide school lunch program now have to make sure that the food and drinks that are sold from their vending machines meet the requirements of the “Smart Snacks in School” program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the website said.

According to the website, companies that fill school vending machines have to stock them with snacks that are rich in whole grain, 200 calories or less, contain no more than 230 milligrams of sodium, have less than 35 percent saturated fat, zero grams of trans fat, and contain 10 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber. Students can now purchase items such as protein bars, diet soda, vegetable snacks, oven-baked chips and mineral water.

Also, brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi can only advertise the diet version of their drinks around school campuses, and fast food posters are no longer allowed in school hallways. Although they cannot sell their regular products in schools, the beverage industry is on board with the move to bring healthier drinks into students lives. Schools also cannot advertise any bake sale or school fundraiser that involves unhealthy snacks.

According to The Associated Press, Michelle Obama stated that the reason for this is, “because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school.”

So how does the nation feel about this? Many recent news headlines have been along the lines of, “America’s Teens Revolt Against Michelle Obama Over Healthy Snacks” and “‘Thanks Michelle!’: Disgusted teens across the country pose alongside healthy vending machines in their schools to protest the removal of their favorite treats.”

Tatiana Gatson, Warren Woods Tower junior, said, “I think the changes are a horrible idea because some people don’t like the food now and they have to change their diets. I’m totally against it.”

But, other students have a positive outlook on the change.

Yashmine Johnson ‘16 stated, “I don’t mind the changes because I don’t buy any food from school, but I understand what Obama is doing because she is trying to prevent kids from getting obese and stuff.”

Many people also see the change as an act of government intrusion, which grew out of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Schools Act which passed in 2010.

Michelle Obama said in a USDA news release, “I am so excited that schools will now be offering healthier choices to students and reinforcing the work we do at home to help our kids stay healthy.”

For the past couple of years, Obama has been working toward this shift, “building partnerships with food companies and retailers to sell healthier foods,” according to an article from mailonline.com.