Work with schools to create more healthful environments for children
November 12, 2012
During the 2008 campaign, Obama made a promise to work with schools in order to create more healthful environments for children. This promise focused on three areas of improvement: granting support for school-based health programs, assisting schools with local vendor contract policy development, and finally increasing support for physical education programs.
Concerning the first part of the promise, we found that the 2010 Affordable Care Act created a four-year grant program that provides $200 million to fund school-based health centers.
This grant helps the centers provide free health care services to students, including dental and primary care in addition to mental health counseling, so that takes care of part one.
We also found that the Affordable Care Act established The Prevention and Public Health Fund. The fiscal year 2012 budget allocates $1 billion for the fund and $15 billion over ten years for various prevention programs.
One of these programs was aimed at "improving nutrition by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and farmers markets and helping kids to eat healthier meals and snacks in schools.”
In addition, as part of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, a new USDA farm-to-school grant program allocates $5 million a year to help schools get access to locally farmed foods.
These two program helps fulfill the "support for local vendors” part of the promise.
Finally through the last part of the promise, Obama pledged to increase financial support for school physical education programs.
While the House passed the FIT Kids Act in 2010, the Senate bill is still sitting in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
If passed, the bill would have improved standards for physical education in elementary and secondary schools.
However, Obama did sign the National Foundation on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Act in December 2011.
This bipartisan act created a private foundation that brings private-sector resources together with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition to promote sports and activity.
Finally, we should note that President Obama hasn't been the only one working on these issues. In the past four years, First Lady Michelle Obama has been a strong advocate for children's physical health and fitness through her "Let's Move!” initiative.
Overall, we found that Obama has made children's environments more healthful mostly through programs under the Affordable Care Act. We rate this Promise Kept.
The National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Nov. 5, 2012
American Public Health Association, The Prevention and Public Health Fund, Accessed Nov. 5, 2012
USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, Jan. 2011
Trust for America's Health, Prevention Fund Fact Sheet, Nov. 5, 2012
Governing, School-Based Health Centers Reap Benefits, Feb. 2012
The White House, Child Nutrition Fact Sheet
USDA, Farm to School Grants, Oct. 19 2012
Trust for America's Health, Prevention and Public Health Fund, Mar. 6, 2012
Let's Move!, Summary of Recommendations, Accessed Nov. 7, 2012
View the full story (some sites require registration)