Last week, Republicans proposed to let public schools opt out of the healthier lunch and breakfast programs if they can show the programs are losing money. Coincidentally, the healthier standards just happen to be championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Not surprisingly, Neil Cavuto was an immediate endorser of the GOP plan.
On May 20, The Hill reported:
The House on Tuesday moved forward with legislation aimed at exempting some schools from lunch nutrition rules that have been a part of first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity initiative.
An Appropriations subpanel approved language that would require the Agriculture Department to waive requirements to serve fruits, vegetables and low-sodium and low-fat foods for schools that can show their lunch programs are losing money.
The Washington Post blasted the initiative:
Ripping a hole in the law would be a mistake. Most of the cited problems are unsurprising, given that the law is just phasing in, and none of them is an excuse to slacken expectations on this major component of American children’s diets.
The Government Accountability Office found that the decline in school lunch participation has been driven by fewer people paying full price, not truly needy students going without subsidized meals. If wealthier families want to feed their children other things with their own money, fine. Their choices should not be used as pretext to demand anything less than reasonable, healthy foods in publicly supported cafeterias.
But there was nothing not to like about the Republican proposal if you’re Neil Cavuto. He discussed the issue that same day, May 20th. He insisted that the problems with the program were due to kids not eating the food. Instead of hosting an expert on school lunch programs, he hosted a nutritionist. At least she had a differing opinion.
Nutritionist Deborah Enos asked, “Are we really going to allow our kids to dictate what they’re eating on a weekly basis or a daily basis?”
“Deborah, they’re not eating it,” Cavuto said.
Enos said that some schools are “very successful” in implementing the healthier food changes. She added, “But if I had an option for my kids to say, ‘Hey you can have chicken nuggets and honey mustard sauce or a big spinach salad,’ what do you think they’re going to be choosing?”
“No, no, no, You misunderstand what’s going on now, Deb,” Cavuto said. “Now they have a choice between all of the spinach stuff or nothing, and they’re actually choosing nothing, so they are starving because of you. How do you feel about that?” He later said he was kidding.
Enos said that as a mom, “I totally get this. I fight this fight on a daily basis. She later added, “The good thing is that when they’re hungry, they’re going to eat it. …(K)ids for years have been throwing away an apple in the garbage can, and I’m telling you if you keep presenting it, they will end up eating it.”
“Yeah, but that’s not happening,” Cavuto claimed. “A lot of these schools have had this going for a long, long time, and the kids still aren’t eating it. …I bet their test scores are diving because the poor things are hungry, and all because you’re forcing broccoli down their throats. I hope you’re proud of yourself.”
On a more serious note, Cavuot asked, “Why should the government be involved in this the first place? What about the parents just say here’s a carrot, here’s some celery, here’s a salad?”
In a perfect world, parents would be doing that, Enos told Cavuto, but they’re not.
Is Cavuto really fine with schools serving all the junk food they want and then just shrugging if the kids grow up obese?