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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — School lunch prices will increase more than 15 percent at overseas military bases next year due to a new federal law designed to improve nutrition and fight childhood obesity, the Defense Department announced Friday.

School meal prices will jump by 35 cents to $2.40 for elementary students and $2.55 for secondary students, the Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific said. The cost of reduced-price lunches will remain at 40 cents.

The first price hike in seven years is a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, an Obama administration initiative that aims to create healthier lunches for the nation’s school children while cutting down on growing waistlines.

By 2014, lunch prices are slated to rise by another 40 cents under the law.

The additional money gives school nutrition programs “critical resources to bring more fresh produce, whole grains and low-fat dairy products into cafeterias,” according to the School Nutrition Association.

Meanwhile, the prices of military school lunches have not kept pace with the increased cost of providing the food to students over the past seven years and needed to be raised, according to Navy Installations Command Headquarters’ Fleet and Family Readiness.

The military services approved the 35-cent increase at DODEA schools Nov. 10 in order to comply with the new law, the Air Force said in a press release Friday.

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