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The Physicians Committee



Actress Scarlett Johansson Asks Congress to Pass the Healthy School Meals Act

Kids adore her in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Parents love her in movies like The Other Boleyn Girl and Lost in Translation. And now, kids and parents alike are applauding actress and singer Scarlett Johansson’s recent request to Congress to add more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based meal options to school lunchrooms by passing the Healthy School Meals Act of 2010.

Johansson has written a letter to Congress urging support for the Healthy School Meals Act, H.R. 4870, which was introduced at a PCRM Capitol Hill briefing last month by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. The bill would reward school districts for offering plant-based vegetarian options and healthful nondairy beverages.

“I’ve been involved with efforts to feed hungry children for years,” Johansson writes. “Millions of families in America rely on subsidized school lunches, and these meals are absolutely crucial to children’s well-being.”

The letter—covered by U.S. News & World Report and Politico—is part of PCRM’s campaign to ask Congress to provide students low-fat plant-based meals through the reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Act, which helps shape the school breakfasts and lunches served to 30 million children.

But Johansson isn't the only celebrity writing to her congressperson, three gold medal-winning Olympic athletes are asking Congress to fight childhood obesity by passing the Healthy School Meals Act. Swimmer Amanda Beard, soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, and gymnast Nastia Liukin have written to lawmakers in support of the bill.

Dozens of congressional staffers attended the briefing where H.R. 4870 was introduced. The event also featured a lively panel of experts, including PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., pediatrician Jay Gordon, M.D., San Diego food service director Gary Petill, teen health advocate Nina Gonzalez, and celebrity mom and nutrition guru Marilu Henner.

H.R. 4870 would reward school districts with additional food aid if they offer most students plant-based vegetarian food choices every day. The bill, which has already drawn support from Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and 37 other co-sponsors, would create a pilot program to provide select schools with high-fiber, low-fat vegetarian protein products and nondairy milk options.

Learn more about the Healthy School Meals Act at HealthySchoolLunches.org.



 

PCRM Online, April 2010

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