U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for the removal of all artificial trans-fats from school meals.
The junior senator from New York wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week urging him to follow recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine.
The IOM report said trans-fats have no place in school breakfasts and lunches.
Gillibrand’s push for removing trans-fats from school meals is part of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization act moving forward in the Senate.
“It’s time for this Congress to get serious about the childhood obesity crisis in this country,” Gillibrand said in a prepared statement. “Failing our children in the lunchroom leads to their failure in the classroom, and poor health throughout their life."
“Ridding school meals of deadly trans-fats is a common sense measure to take to improve the health of our children, help them reach their full potential, and protect the next generation of America,” she added.
According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity among American children between the ages of six and 11 has more than doubled over the last three decades.
30 years ago, 6.5 percent of children between the ages of six and 11 were considered obese. Now, the number is at 17 percent.
For the same time frame, obesity among children and teens from 12 to 19 years of age has more than tripled – from about give percent to nearly 18 percent.
Gillibrand notes that childhood obesity can lead to lower test scores and serious health conditions later in life – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.