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Tuesday Morning - October 14, 2008

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October 14, 2008

Table of contents

SNA Submits Comments to USDA on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Action Alert on School Nutrition Funding

PCRM Petitions USDA to Ban Processed Meat from School Lunches

Study Finds Middle School Vending Machines Selling Snacks and Juice

CDC Releases Physical Activity Guidelines

USDA Summer Food Conference Set for December

Research Shows Healthy School Meals Reduce BMI and Improve Academic Performance

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SNA Submits Comments to USDA on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

SNA submitted comments this week to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) with recommendations for Child Nutrition Reauthorization, set to begin in Congress next year.  The comments were in response to an announcement in the Federal Register posted by the FNS seeking input on improvements and changes to be made to the federal child nutrition programs. In a letter to the FNS, SNA president Dr. Katie Wilson emphasized the need for a higher reimbursement rate for school meals, consistent national nutrition standards, funding for school kitchen and cafeteria equipment. Click below to read the full letter.

SNA Comments to USDA on CN Reauthorization 

Action Alert on School Nutrition Funding

To help school nutrition programs keep up with rising food prices, Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) introduced the National Hunger Relief Act of 2008 in late September.  The bill, S. 3614, would provide for semi-annual reimbursement rate increases.  Instead of raising the reimbursement rate once a year, in July, the new legislation would require the USDA to increase the reimbursement rate twice a year, during January and July, based on the current Food Away From Home Consumer Price Index.  Doing so would allow the federal reimbursement rate to more accurately reflect the cost of preparing a meal, since food prices fluctuate throughout the school year. Since September 29, 2008, more than 600 Action Alert messages have been sent to Members of Congress.  Indiana leads the way with 132 letters sent, followed by Pennsylvania at 117, Massachusetts at 94 and Georgia at 78.  If you live in Iowa, Minnesota, or Ohio, your help is especially needed. Please contact your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation.  To send an Action Alert, please visit the Legislative Action Center.

PCRM Petitions USDA to Ban Processed Meat from School Lunches

On October 10, 2008, the Cancer Project, part of the animal rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM,) submitted a petition for rulemaking calling upon the USDA to stop offering processed meats for purchase, subsidy, and reimbursement under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, because such products allegedly are linked to increased risk of colon cancer. The petition asks the USDA to encourage schools that offer processed meats to include alternatives to these products in their menus. The petition includes letters of support from several medical doctors including Walter Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H., chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. The petition comes several months after PCRM began a campaign including television advertisements aimed at the same goal of removing hot dogs and other processed and cured meats from school nutrition programs. SNA issued a statement in response to the campaign and petition reflecting that the science linking processed meat to cancer is far from conclusive. For additional information see below.

PCRM release 

SNA statement 

SNA talking points 

American Meat Institute statement 

Study Finds Middle School Vending Machines Selling Snacks and Juice

A sample of 42 U.S. middle schools found that three-fourths of them have vending machines selling snacks and sugared drinks. The findings are part of a larger study geared toward reducing obesity among middle-school students and were presented last week at the Obesity Society's annual meeting, in Phoenix, Ariz. by study author Amy Virus, a registered dietitian with the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. The study found fruit juice and other high calorie beverages were common in vending machines located in schools in the study's small sample. The research is not consistent with SNA's 2008 Back to School Trends Report which was based on over 350 districts and thousands of schools and found that 75% of districts were increasing the availability of healthier beverages in vending machines, 72% were limiting fat content of a la carte/vending items and 70% were reducing or limiting the amount of added sugar in foods.

Vending Machines Found in Most Middle Schools 

CDC Releases Physical Activity Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the release of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These guidelines, the first to be issued by the federal government, present science-based recommendations to help persons ages 6 years and older improve their health through physical activity. CDC scientists from the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) and the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) were key partners in development of the Guidelines. The Guidelines' chapter on children and adolescents, available at http://www.health.gov/PAguidelines/guidelines/chapter3.aspx, reflect the most up-to-date research about youth physical activity and its associated health benefits.

USDA Summer Food Conference Set for December

From December 2 - 3, 2008, USDA will host Summer Food: Pathways to Success, the only national conference devoted to the Summer Food Service Program. The USDA works closely with State agencies and national organizations such as Feeding America, the Food Research and Action Center, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the School Nutrition Association to expand access to summer meals. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The two-day conference is geared toward the professional interests of Federal, State, and local administrators, advocates, and participants who are involved with the Summer Food Service Program.  Registration is $140 per person.  The registration deadline is October 24, 2008. Click here for registration form and  hotel reservation information.

Research Shows Healthy School Meals Reduce BMI and Improve Academic Performance

Data from the first two years of the Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) prevention intervention study were presented October 4 at The Obesity Society 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Directed by the Agatston Research Foundation, the study results, based on research conducted in six schools in Osceola County, FL, show not only a decrease in the body mass index and overall weight of the HOPS children, but improved academic performance as well. The study included 1,197 elementary-age children who qualified for or free or reduced priced meals in the National School Lunch Program (68% Hispanic, 9% African-American, 15% White, and 8% other).

The HOPS intervention children were provided with a nutrition and healthy lifestyle education program promoting the consumption of nutrient-dense foods and daily physical activity. Educational activities focused, in part, on the nutritious foods served in the schools’ cafeterias, including whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Many schools also planted fruit and vegetable gardens to further promote the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.

In addition to significant reductions in weight during the two-year study period, HOPS intervention children were significantly more likely to have higher Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) math scores than non-HOPS children. HOPS intervention children were also more likely to have higher FCAT reading scores, although the difference for FCAT reading scores between the HOPs and non-HOPs children was not statistically significant. Additionally, the study showed that in both study years, Hispanic and white children in the intervention schools were significantly more likely to have the higher FCAT math scores.

Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) 

In Every Issue

SNA Legislative Action Center
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State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia

 

 

 

 


 
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