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Tuesday Morning - April 20, 2010

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April 20, 2010

Table of Contents

Tell Congress: Support Increased Funding for Child Nutrition Programs!

House Agriculture Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Access to Federal Nutrition Programs

Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) Introduces Eating Healthy at School Act of 2010

USDA Awards Grants to Develop Obesity Prevention Programs

USDA Official Highlights Efforts to Improve School Meals and the Health of Nation’s Children

Institute of Medicine to Hold Briefing on Public Health and Obesity

Military Leaders to Speak on Need for Strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

Tell Congress: Support Increased Funding for Child Nutrition Programs!

On March 17th, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) introduced the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the draft Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. SNA supports this legislation, which is a strong first step toward strengthening these programs and acknowledges the need to increase funding for school meals.

While the legislation would boost funding for the federal child nutrition programs by $450 million per year, including a performance-based 6 cents increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches, additional efforts are needed to reach the $1 billion per year increase requested by President Barack Obama.

Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) are asking Members of Congress to sign onto a letter encouraging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to identify potential funding to meet the President's $1 billion per year request. Please take a moment to contact your Member of Congress and ask them to sign onto this important letter. Click on the following link for an action alert with a suggested letter you can send to your Member of Congress.

http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Blog.aspx?id=13892&blogid=622

House Agriculture Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Access to Federal Nutrition Programs

The House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on April 14th focusing on the federal nutrition assistance programs. The hearing looked at access to healthy foods for beneficiaries of federal nutrition programs, as well as innovative methods to improve availability. Witnesses included: 

  • USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon
  • Michele Ver Ploeg, Economist, USDA Economic Research Service
  • Ellie Krieger, Food Network Chef and Host of Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger
  • Rocco DiSpirito, Cookbook author and chef
  • Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America
  • Randall Wattermann, Founding Chairman and Treasurer, Nebraska Food Cooperative
  • Jeffrey Brown, President and CEO, Brown’s Super Stores
  • Diana Endicott, Farm to Market Coordinator, Good Natured Family Farms

Chairman Joe Baca (D-Calif.) opened the hearing by remarking on the necessity of federal nutrition programs to confront obesity as well as food insecurity. These comments were echoed in testimony by each of the witnesses. While most of the discussion focused on programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the school nutrition programs were also examined. In answering questions from the committee, Under Secretary Concannon promoted USDA’s HealthierUS Schools Challenge program, noting that it encourages schools to improve the quality of food served on school campuses, integrate nutrition education into the school day, and focus on exercise.

In her testimony, Ellie Krieger discussed the need to educate people to make smart choices, noting that this needs to occur in schools as well. She discussed the proposed Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation, noting that it included many important provisions for providing healthy school meals. She also spoke of her experience serving on her daughter’s school wellness committee.

Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) Introduces Eating Healthy at School Act of 2010

Last week, Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced legislation that will ensure school meals are meeting federal standards. The Eating Healthy at School Act, H.R. 5027, directs the Secretary of Agriculture to assess the efficiency of current administrative review systems to ensure that school meals are compliant with Federal meal standards. The bill was cosponsored by Representatives Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Laura Richardson (D-CA).

USDA Awards Grants to Develop Obesity Prevention Programs

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced on April 13th the steps it will take to develop and evaluate obesity prevention programs in the United States. USDA announced $11 million in grants to be awarded in order to create effective obesity prevention programs based on the identification of behavioral factors that contribute to obesity. The grants are being awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Human Nutrition and Obesity program.

Currently funded projects include studies and obesity prevention trials for American Indian communities at Johns Hopkins University, Colorado State University, and the University of Miami.

For more information: Develop Obesity Prevention Programs

USDA Official Highlights Efforts to Improve School Meals and the Health of Nation’s Children

USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon highlighted the Obama Administration’s priorities for improving the health of children and school meals during an April 16th event in Riverside, Calif. Concannon congratulated students and staff at Emerson Elementary School for creating a successful pilot farm to school salad bar program that has allowed for more healthy school lunch options. Concannon reinstated the importance of renewing the Child Nutrition Act. He advocated for a strong reauthorization bill in order to improve the health and nutrition of our nation’s children.

Concannon remarked that this year provides an opportunity to strengthen and improve accessibility of school nutrition programs which have the potential to reach millions of children in need. Increasing enrollment and expanding direct certification are priorities.

Institute of Medicine to Hold Briefing on Public Health and Obesity

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies is releasing a report entitled Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making. A one-hour telephone public briefing is scheduled for Friday, April 23, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. The report establishes a new process to assist decision makers in using evidence when determining what actions to take when confronting complex public health issues including obesity.

Please RSVP by Thursday, April 22 to receive the dial in number and access to report materials by the time of the release. For questions, call (202) 334-2033 or email mspear@nas.edu. The link for the dial-in number is:

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/277901/meeting-report-release-bridging-the-evidence-gap-in-obesity-prevention-a-framework-to-inform-decision-making

Military Leaders to Speak on Need for Strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, along with retired generals and admirals, who are members of the non-profit Mission: Readiness will release new findings on April 20 on the notable increase of obesity among young adults and the effect of this increase on the pool of healthy young adults available for military service. The retired military leaders will call on Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation to remove less nutritious foods from schools. They will also call on Congress to improve nutritional standards for all foods available to children in educational settings.

The following individuals are expected to speak at the press conference: 

  • U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
  • Lieutenant General Norman R. Seip, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
  • Rear Admiral James A Barnett, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)
  • Brigadier General Clara L. Adams-Ender, U.S. Army (Ret.)
  • Amy Dawson Taggart, National Director, Mission: Readiness

State and Federal Legislation (login required)
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, District of Columbia, Federal, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin


 
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