SCHOOL LUNCH: Vilsack Defends New Rules

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The USDA subsidized lunch program has been getting flak from parents, students and even some teachers after changes to make the meals healthier.

Some parents say there is not enough food to keep their kids full throughout the day. But, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the new lunch isn’t that different compared to last year.

“If you take a look at what we offered last year compared to this year in some cases more calories are being provided. In some of the elementary and middle schools there are actually more calories in some of the high schools the difference is between 25 and 50 calories,” says Vilsack.

Vilsack says having a healthy diet is important as one-third of all kids in the U.S. are obese.

He says concerns over hunger can be addressed with snacks in vending machines and off campus.

Vilsack says there is another important reason for kids to be healthy.

“Because ages 19 to 24 only 25-percent of youngsters in that category are fit for service. So if you want an all-volunteer military, and you start off with 75-percent of the youngsters not fit. For a variety of reasons you have a very small pool to draw from and it threatens the security of the country,” says Vilsack.

The USDA does offer schools a snack program to help students feel full throughout the day.