WASHINGTON, D.C.- Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years in the United States.
Congress took a pivotal step in reducing childhood obesity Thursday. The U.S. House Agriculture Committee advanced the 2012 Farm bill out of committee, which included a $16 billion cut to food stamps over 10 years.
“Today is a proud day for America and our future, which is our children,” said Rep. Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
“No longer will our kids get government handouts, which in turn makes them lazy and fat. Instead kids will have to work, if they want to get food and it is so important to establish a work ethic in youth at a very young age.”
The House has yet to vote on the proposed farm bill, but the cuts to food stamps are much deeper than the Senate’s version, which cut just $4.5 billion from food stamps over 10 years. Lucas applauded the House version calling the cuts necessary and an olive branch to the President as a sign of future cooperation.
“First Lady Michelle Obama has put such an emphasis on reducing obesity and getting healthy, and we just want to help,” said Lucas.
“Obama always says all we do is say ‘no,’ but this bill is a clear sign of cooperation on childhood obesity.”
The proposed $16 billion cut would result in two to three million people losing food assistance according to the Congressional Budget Office; additionally 280,000 children would lose access to their school’s free lunch program.
Some experts believe the cuts would not only leave millions without adequate nutrition, but the savings from the cuts would be overwhelmed by the medical costs of treating malnutrition. But Lucas says not so fast.
“I thought health care costs were covered under Obamacare?” said Lucas.
“Look people are not going to suffer from hunger, we are just limiting those lazy Americans from buying soda and candy on the government’s dime. Let them work for their soda and candy. For some of them it will be the first time they work in their lifetime. I work for my daily Diet Coke and they can too.”