The American Public Health Association (APHA) sent a letter to House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman George Miller this week urging the House to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that would bring the nation one step closer to improving nutrition and promoting physical activity and wellness for millions of children across the country, according to a press release. APHA strongly encourages the House to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act before the legislation expires on Sept. 30.

The text of the letter from Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, is below:

Dear Chairman Miller:
On behalf of the American Public Health Association, the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals and advocates in the world dedicated to promoting and protecting the health of the public and our communities, I write in strong support of S. 3307, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which could come to the House floor for a vote later this week. We thank you for your continued leadership on child nutrition issues and we stand ready to work with you to pass this important public health legislation.

Good nutrition should begin in childhood when eating habits are formed and chronic diseases begin to develop. Yet over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents. Only 2% of children eat a healthy diet which can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, which are leading causes of death, disability, and high healthcare costs.

We are pleased with the new investments and important policy changes included in this critical public health legislation. Specifically, the bill would: update the nutrition standards of school meals; limit the sale of junk food in schools; provide greater reimbursement and more training to schools so they can serve more nutritious meals; improve and simplify the application process; increase the use of foods from local and regional sources and support improved school nutrition and physical activity wellness policies.

Thank you again for your leadership and for making our children’s health a priority. We urge the House to quickly pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and send it to the president for his signature before the programs expire on September 30.

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