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From the Archives: President Obama Signs Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

A look back at the signing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act on December 13, 2010.

      What's the difference between these two school lunches?

Lunch 1

Lunch 2

Cheese pizza

Whole wheat cheese pizza

Canned pineapple

Sweet potato fries


Raw grape tomatoes

Low-fat chocolate milk



Low-fat milk


If you guessed that Lunch 2 is a whole lot healthier for kids, you’re exactly right. Lunch 1 is a typical meal served in a school cafeteria that doesn’t follow the guidelines for nutritious, balanced meals established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The legislation, signed into law by President Obama on December 13, 2010, directs schools to serve healthier, more wholesome food, like those on the menu for Lunch 2.

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act is an important step toward ending childhood obesity. Because many kids, particularly those from low-income homes, rely on school breakfasts and lunches for a majority of the food they eat each day, ensuring they have access to healthy options is crucial. One in three children in the United States is either overweight or obese, and at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even Type II diabetes. Unhealthy kids are more likely to perform poorly in school, jeopardizing their chances of success in the future.

Among other things, the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act:

  • Helps ensure children have access to healthier, more nutritious foods by setting standards for school meals and wellness policies and improving the nutritional quality of food schools serve, including using more food from local farms and gardens.
  • Provides additional funding to schools that meet updated nutritional standards for federally subsidized lunches—the first real increase in more than 30 years.
  • Increases the number of children enrolled in school meal programs by using Medicaid and Census data to better determine eligibility.
  • Offers technical support and training for providers and requires schools to be audited every three years for compliance.

For more information:

  • Watch the video of President Obama signing the bill
  • Learn about Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to end childhood obesity.
  • Read a fact sheet about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
  • See a sample menu comparing school lunches before and after the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act