On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie conducted a cooking segment with White House chef Sam Kass to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign and wondered: "So do you feel like the program is having the intended effect? Do you think people are thinking differently about food, now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kass, boyfriend of MSNBC host Alex Wagner, declared: "Oh, absolutely. I think we're seeing the country unite around our kid's health....last year the new school lunch standards were put in place. School chefs are cooking much healthier food, and that's going to happen gain this year." However, on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported: "After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program..."
The article explained:
Districts that rejected the program say the reimbursement was not enough to offset losses from students who began avoiding the lunch line and bringing food from home or, in some cases, going hungry.
"Some of the stuff we had to offer, they wouldn't eat," said Catlin, Ill., Superintendent Gary Lewis, whose district saw a 10 to 12 percent drop in lunch sales, translating to $30,000 lost under the program last year.
"So you sit there and watch the kids, and you know they're hungry at the end of the day, and that led to some behavior and some lack of attentiveness."
After promoting Let's Move, will NBC now cover the program's failures?
Here is a portion of Guthrie's August 26 exchange with Kass:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And we are back this morning. On Today's Kitchen, healthy back to school menus. First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let's Move initiative three years ago to fight obesity and to teach families how to make better food choices. Well, White House chef Sam Kass is the program's executive director. Sam, good morning, it's good to see you.
SAM KASS: So good to be here.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Today's Kitchen; Healthy Eats With White House Chef Sam Kass]
GUTHRIE: So do you feel like the program is having the intended effect? Do you think people are thinking differently about food, now?
KASS: Oh, absolutely. I think we're seeing the country unite around our kid's health. We're seeing preschool obesity rates starting to already come down, which we're really excited about. And now we've got to get our youngsters in school and getting healthy.
GUTHRIE: I know there's a new initiative this year and the focus is getting kids to move, getting them to do exercise.
KASS: Yeah, well, we're really looking at it holistically. So, last year the new school lunch standards were put in place. School chefs are cooking much healthier food, and that's going to happen gain this year. And actually next year there's going to be much healthier food in vending machines and a-la-carte lines.
And then, yes, there's Let's Move Back to Schools, which is the First Lady's initiative to really get kids active throughout the school day.
So parents can really get involved. If they go to Let'sMoveSchools.org, they can sign up and help their schools make environments to get their kids moving all day.