WASHINGTON, May 27 (UPI) -- First lady Michelle Obama is taking on congressional Republicans, saying their plan to loosen standards for healthy school lunches deals a huge blow to the health of America's youth. The first lady is in the capital today, hosting an event aimed at highlighting the success of new health guidelines implemented by President Barack Obama.
Congressional Republicans have introduced a bill that would allow schools to waive the administration's new health standards if they caused a net loss for schools over any six month period.
"This is a serious threat to the tremendous progress we have made," said Sam Kass, White House assistant chef and nutrition policy adviser. "This is a critical moment for our kids. We cannot afford to roll back effective programs. We need to be doubling and tripling our efforts."
Critics of the new standards, including the School Nutrition Administration, say they are overly restrictive.
"Students will pick up what they're supposed to have at the end of the line and then immediately throw it in the garbage," president elect of the SNA Julia Bauscher told CNN. "We just don't want them to have to take it if they don't intend to consume it."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study in August that showed childhood obesity among low-income preschoolers declined significantly between 2008 and 2011 -- an improvement experts say would not have been as substantial without the the White House and Michelle Obama's efforts.