WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, unveiled the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on March 17.

The bill, which would provide $4.5 billion in new child nutrition program funding over 10 years, would mark the largest investment ever made in federal child nutrition programs. Previously, the highest increase was $500 million over 10 years.

“This proposal is a monumental step forward as we work to end childhood hunger and address the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States,” Ms. Lincoln said. She said the legislation would invest heavily in new initiatives designed to automatically enroll more eligible low-income children in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, as well as expand afterschool feeding programs.