Key Academy Priorities Included in Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act

07/21/2022 - The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics commends U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Va.) and U.S. House Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Chair Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) for introducing a comprehensive Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill with the following Academy priorities:

WIC Program:

  • Improvements to information systems and technology to better serve WIC participants and allow for modernization of the program by requiring clinics to offer services over the phone and via video options
  • Expansion of certification period to two years
  • Extension of WIC eligibility for children up to six years old or on the day they begin kindergarten
  • Extension of WIC eligibility for postpartum woman to two years
  • Improvements to WIC Farmers Market Program
  • Expansion of the breastfeeding peer counseling services

National School Lunch Program:

  • Expand community eligibility to reach 9 million more students with free meals
  • Offer emergency waivers or modifications on a nationwide basis
  • Direct certification for children receiving Medicaid benefits
  • Increase reimbursement rate of school meals
  • Support school kitchen equipment and infrastructure improvements
  • Provide technical assistance for schools to meet nutrition standards

Additional provisions included:

  • Authorization of reimbursements for additional meals or snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Establish permanent nationwide Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Program
  • Promote values-aligned procurement that is environmentally sustainable
  • Address lunch shaming and unpaid meal debt
  • Routine updates to nutrition standards for meal patterns to be consistent with most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The last Child Nutrition Reauthorization – the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act – passed in 2010. The Academy calls on members of the U.S. House of Representatives to swiftly pass this piece of legislation, factoring in the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to strengthen and expand the reach of child nutrition programs that are a critical line of defense against food insecurity for millions of America's children.

Urge your member of Congress to support the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act by completing the action alert listed below.