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Which of the following is considered a junk food according to national school nutrition standards?

A. Hi-C Blast - vitamin fortified sugar water
B. Poland Springs seltzer water - water with bubbles
C. French fries
D. Candy Bars

If you guessed A, C or D you'd be wrong.  Believe it or not, seltzer water is the only item on this list banned as a junk food because it doesn't contain any vitamins or minerals. Yup, french fries, candy bars, and Hi-C aren't officially considered junk food.  That's just crazy when you consider that children ages 6-11 are four times more likely to be obese than children were a generation ago.[1] Four times!  Today nearly one-third of all children are overweight or obese, placing them at heightened risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other serious diseases.[2]

Time for an update! Sign our petition today -- it will be hand delivered to Members of Congress June 24th:

The petition says: "Please update outdated nutrition standards immediately to ensure our schools provide healthy food for our children!"

In what universe are candy bars NOT junk food?  The USDA's school nutrition standards were developed in the 1970's and are no longer consistent with nutrition science or current concerns regarding childhood health. For example, USDA does not consider candy bars, snack cakes, or french fries to be junk foods in schools.  USDA standards don't even address calories, saturated, and trans fats or sodium.

Right now Congress is discussing ways to reduce health care costs in America. Improving nutrition in schools is one no-brainer answer.

Sign on our petition and we'll get it delivered to the U.S. Capitol next week.  June 24th is Capitol Hill Advocacy Day for our friends at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  They've offered to deliver our petition along with your comments to our leaders in D.C. In fact, they have already arranged breakfast, lunch and meetings in-between with members of Congress on the Hill.  Let's make sure they have a huge number of names signed onto the petition along with comments from us to deliver!  Our voices are key to letting Congress know that mothers and fathers care deeply about making sure our children can eat healthy food at school.

Sign the petition today!

[1],[2] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Statement Regarding Release of Estimates of Obesity Prevalence Among U.S. Children and Teens,, Beyond Health Care - New Directions to a Healthier America, Robert Wood Johnson Commission to Build a Healthier America, p. 7.

Joan Blades is co-founder of MomsRising and MoveOn, as well as co-author of a forthcoming book titled The Custom-Fit Workplace, to be released Labor Day 2010.

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