Promoting Student Health and Well-Being
A healthy lifestyle begins at a young age. Studies show that healthy students have an improved capacity to focus and learn, feel better, experience improved self-image and perform better in school. Senator Harkin believes we must improve access to healthy food and mental health services for America's students.
Senator Harkin is especially concerned about doing right by the more than 30 million students receiving free and reduced-price school lunches. For low-income children - who are disproportionately victims of the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes - access to enough food and nutritious food are both imperative.
Re-creating America as a genuine wellness society begins by giving our children a healthy start. With that goal in mind, Senator Harkin has championed the following initiatives.
- In the 2002 Farm Bill, Harkin created the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which now provides millions of elementary school children with free fresh fruit and vegetable snacks at school.
- As a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Harkin played a key role in shaping the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which will help ensure all kids have access to nutritious meals at school. Included in the bill is a Harkin authored provision that would establish national nutrition standards consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for all foods sold on school campuses, including vending machines and school stores. When it comes to what our kids eat at school, we need to make the healthy choice the easy choice.