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Obama signs school nutrition bill

Obama signs school nutrition bill
U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 with first lady Michelle Obama (R), 3rd-grader Luis Avilar-Rurcios (2nd R) and 7th-grader Tammy Nguyen (3rd R) at Harriet Tubman Elementary School December 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. In an effort to provide children with better school lunches and breakfasts, the new law puts $4.5 million in the hands of child nutrition programs, sets nutrition standards on school vending machines, helps create school gardens and makes sure that quality drinking water is available during meal times. UPI/Chip Somodevilla/POOL | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama Monday signed into law school nutrition legislation at the center of his wife's campaign to end childhood obesity.

Calling the Healthy, Hungry-free Kids Act of 2010 "vitally important" to the health and welfare of the nation's young people, Obama said, "We need to make sure that our kids have the energy and the capacity to go toe to toe with their peers anywhere in the world."

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The bill-signing ceremony was at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington.

He said the bill won't add to the deficit because funds are offset by rolling back some Food Stamp funding beginning in 2013, and he pledged to restore the funds in the future.

RELATED House passes $4.5B child nutrition bill

First lady Michelle Obama noted the strong bipartisan support the bill had in Congress.

"While we may sometimes have our differences, we can all agree that in the United States of America, no child should go to school hungry," she said. "We can all agree that in the wealthiest nation on earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and to pursue their dreams."

The Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010 will improve the quality of school breakfasts, lunches and other foods sold in schools, the White House said in a background document. It also will improve nutrition programs for young children, including the federally funded Women, Infants and Children program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

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The Obama administration has pledged to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, a cause championed by Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative.

By far the loudest response came when Obama joked that if he didn't get the legislation through Congress and signed into law, "I'd be sleeping on the couch."

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