Because of massive federal farm subsidies that encourage Americans to eat the very foods of which federal nutrition programs say we should be eating less:
The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation making its way through Congress, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.I myself am personally against federal farm subsidies. I find it ludicrous that our government pays corporate farming companies (let's face it, the traditional image of the small American family farmer is now nothing more than just that: an image) to grow, and in many cases not grow, certain foods. What ever happened to free market principles as they pertain to economic consumption? And the fact that this same government actively encourages the consumption of unhealthy foods by the nation's poor is to me akin to class warfare, much like zoning laws that allow poorer neighborhoods to be flooded with fast food restaurants. Why are there no nutritional guidelines for these food assistance programs? Answer: because lobbyists for Big Agro have more say over what you and your children will eat than you do, especially if you're poor. Remember when the Reagan administration tried to reclassify ketchup as a vegetable for school lunch programs? This is not the way government is supposed to work.
The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.