Letter: Phila. schools nation on obesity

Washington is making progress toward assuring schools provide healthier food with proposed standards for food sold in most schools. The regulations are part of a set of changes under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a key component of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign to reduce childhood obesity.

In addition to the modifications put in place by the act, which placed standards on the nutrition content of cafeteria meals, the amendment proposes to apply similar nutrition standards to foods sold outside the cafeteria. That means eliminating sugary drinks like soda and Gatorade from vending machines, and cookies and chips from school stores.

Michelle Obama cheers with grade school students during an event in Dallas with members of the "Top Chef" series.

The standards are similar to the snack and beverage policy in Philadelphia public schools. Since its enactment in 2004, Philadelphia has seen a 5 percent drop in child obesity rates. As a child nutrition advocate in the public health sector, I am hopeful that comparable changes in national childhood obesity rates will occur with the Hunger-Free Act changes.

- Katie Halkyard, Philadelphia