Nerd Grenades: Jon Stewart’s Take on Michelle Obama’s New School Lunch Policy

‘There’s been quite a bit of tension since First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rolled out their new school lunch initiative for this school year. But, Jon Stewart’s Thursday response to the dispute is likely the best we’ve seen yet’ (Huff Post Education).

It’s the perfect time to talk politics after last night’s debate, right? Okay, not really. I am the last person to talk politics of any sort, least of all here. But, as I was digging into America’s obesity crisis, I came across this Jon Stewart video. With humor, he tackles the new school lunch policy that has been implemented as of the start of the 2012 school year.

Here’s what’s goin’ down: As I pointed out from the Washington Post’s 5-part series Young Lives at Risk: Our Overweight Children in the last post, 1 in 3 American children are overweight and it isn’t going to get any better from here based on future projections. The federal solution: reconfigure our school lunch system. The new policy lowers sodium, trans fats and even calories and offers unlimited fruits and veggies and more whole grains. Sounds great, right? This has been long and coming…



The backlash is in the calorie part; a caloric restriction is placed on students based on their age group. For elementary students it is 650 calories for lunch, for middle school, 700 and for high school 800 calories. Now mind you, this is just lunch, it is one meal of the day. Kids across America are not happy.

Teens from Kansas to Wisconsin have staged protests against the new school lunches, launching Twitter campaigns, boycotting cafeteria meals and filming videos in hopes of bringing widespread attention to their cause: the new rules are too restrictive, leaving kids hungry. Growing adolescents, teens say, require more calories because they’re burning more through sports and other activities.
Stewart took to his Thursday opening bit with,”Newsflash! Children think school lunches suck!”

What gets me is there is a backlash from kids if the food isn’t up to par and now there is a rebellion when the food is up to par.

Food sucks (words of Jon Stewart)

Food still sucks (again, words of Jon Stewart)

The majority of kids in the U.S. do not even come close to eating the daily recommended amount for fruits and veggies and this current lunch makeover doubles the amount of fruits and vegetables and kids are allowed second servings of each. In response to the negative reactions from kids, the GOP came up with a bill called “No Hungry Kids Act” that would go against the caloric restriction. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack responded to this by saying kids should reach for snacks and their administration team is working on a snack program as well.

What do you think? I am not into government telling us what we can and cannot do, however, we have a national crisis of overweight and obese children in this country and personal responsibility hasn’t been cutting it. Is this the solution? Why or why not and what would you want to see happen if not.



CNN. September 2012. Pictures Inspire School Lunch Boycott

Huff Post Education. September 2012. School Lunch Fight: Jon Stewart Takes on Battle Over Michelle Obama’s Healthy School Meals

Pics: Better D.C. Food, Ben+Sam Flickr

YouTube. September 2012. We Are Hungry

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