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Schools say more funding and support needed to make lunches healthier

By By MEGAN KOSKOVICH

ONEIDA, N.Y. (WKTV) - First lady Michelle Obama wants school lunches to be even healthier. Local school lunch managers say that's fine, but they need more funding and parental support.

Obama called for action in an op-ed piece she wrote in Monday's edition of the Washington Post. She is urging Congress to pass the "Child Nutrition Act" which would require schools to have more fruits, veggies and whole grains in their meals, among other initiatives. School lunch manager for Madison-Oneida BOCES Joyce Smith said that is something they are already doing on the local level, but it's not a quick process.

"I think we do an awful lot in school lunches that people don't realize and we're trying to educate students and change their habits."

Smith said school districts need two things to really elevate school lunches to the next level: parent support and more funding. She said the cost that they have to work with is very constrictive. They get reimbursed a dollar or two per meal, which also has to cover overhead costs. The other issue is what kids are eating at home.

"They are use to what they get at home, and that's what we try to serve to keep our participation up. But if it doesn't change at home there isn't too much we can do about it," Smith said.

According to Obama's op-ed piece, she has spoken to parents, teachers and school officials about making nutritious school meals a top priority. Smith said that she thinks if that happens, the fight to end childhood obesity is very obtainable.

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