One of Michelle Obama’s signature accomplishments was increasing the health standards of school breakfasts and lunches, which feed 31 million children in the United States. Although obesity has more than tripled in the past forty years, Sonny Perdue wants to undo Michelle Obama’s work and decrease the health standards of school lunches.
“I feel that we have made such progress in schools meals over the past five years,” said Miriam Nelson, a public health researcher who helped advise Michelle Obama’s nutrition initiatives. “This progress has contributed to reversing the trend in childhood obesity rates nationwide…We want to continue the progress we have made.”
One of the standards Perdue is planning on getting rid of is the limit on sodium in school lunches. Currently, elementary schools can serve school lunches with up to 1230 milligrams of sodium. That was set to decrease to 640 milligrams. According to the CDC, children ages 6 to 18 on average consume 2,000 and 3,565 milligrams of sodium each day, which is 30 percent higher than the amount recommended for adults, and can lead to hypertension.
Margo Wooten, the director of nutrition policy at CSPI, said in a statement,“Ninety percent of American kids eat too much sodium every day. Schools have been moving in the right direction, so it makes no sense to freeze that progress in its tracks—allowing dangerously high levels of salt in school lunch.”
In Georgia, hypertension is on the rise and has been for the past 30 years. Currently, 36.2 percent of adults, or over 1.6 million, in Georgia have hypertension. The amount of people affected by hypertension is expected to rise to over 2.2 million by 2030, if nothing changes.
Decreased health standards will only perpetuate the increase in hypertension and obesity. Sonny Perdue’s policies will only make American children less healthy.