More than two dozen House Democrats proposed legislation Thursday that would require any school participating in the national school lunch program to teach students 50 hours of nutrition education per year.
The lead sponsor of the bill, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., said the increase in the number of overweight kids is a sign that more education about food and nutrition is needed at school.
"Nearly one in three children is overweight or obese," he said Thursday. "This bill is an important step in ensuring our children are getting the health education they need to live healthier, longer lives."
He said childhood obesity costs an estimated $14 billion in healthcare expenses.
Cartwright's bill recommends that schools should incorporate nutrition education into other subjects like math, science, and language arts.
"With fun participatory activities, like farm visits, taste testing, and school gardens, children will learn the importance of nutritional energy balance," according to a summary of the bill from Cartwright's office.
Cartwright introduced the same legislation in the last Congress. That bill found that schools teach about 13 hours per year of nutrition education, but said 50 hours is needed.
The bill set a minimum of 50 hours per year as a requirement for any school involved in the national school lunch program.
That requirement could be fulfilled through health classes, but also through "enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens."