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Groups Want Child-Nutrition Bill Passed Sooner, Not Later

The Afterschool Alliance is one of many groups urging Congress to pass child-nutrition legislation as soon as possible.

"With 1 in 4 kids at risk of hunger and 1 in 3 obese or overweight, the time for action is now," the Alliance and more than 100 other national organizations assert in this ad. Other advocates include the American Academy of Pediatrics, 9to5-National Association of Working Women, Catholic Charities USA, and the National PTA.

My Education Week colleague Christina Samuels has details on the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act of 2010, which cleared a key House panel this month and would expand school-lunch and after-school and summer-nutrition programs.

The Alliance and other advocates are pushing hard for Congress to act on the bill now rather than waiting for a new post-election Congress to take it up. Federal funding is already tight, and indications are that things will only grow tougher next year, Afterschool Alliance Policy Director Erik Peterson told me, so waiting would only make movement more difficult. Among the legislation's tenets would be the expansion of an after-school meal program from 13 states and the District of Columbia, where it is in place now, to all 50 states.

But school nutrition is not the only item on Congress' plate, so to speak. There are "not a lot of legislative days left" before Congress takes its August break, Peterson said, and there "are a lot of other priorities out there." So Peterson, in this blog item, and others are urging supporters to contact Congress now to do some one-on-one lobbying.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens next.

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