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Tuesday Morning - August 12, 2008

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August 12, 2008

 

In This Issue

This Month, Meet with Your Members of Congress
USDA Readies Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Purchases for Elementary School
USDA Holds Reauthorization Listening Sessions in Maryland, California
Coming Soon: Educate Your Community on School Nutrition!
Former President Clinton Recognizes Schools for Healthy Innovations
State Legislative Update
Student Food Allergies in the News
Report Looks at Restaurant Meals for Kids
Study: Boys Benefit from Breakfast Before School
How Food Companies are Combating Rising Costs

 

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center
Legislative Toolkit
PR Toolkit
State Policy Index
State and Federal Legislation
PPL Committee

This Month, Meet with Your Members of Congress

August is a great time to meet with your member of Congress!  With both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on recess this month, your Congressional representatives will be in their home districts.  As the 2009 reauthorization of the child nutrition programs draws near, SNA encourages its members to contact their Senators and Representatives.  Meet with them in their office or invite them to lunch or breakfast at a school this August to discuss the important issues facing school nutrition programs in the coming year, including:

  • Rising cost of preparing school meals
  • National nutrition standards
  • Simplification of the programs

For more information on meeting with members of Congress, please visit the Legislative Action Center

USDA Readies Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Purchases for Elementary School

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced last week that $49 million will be provided in fresh fruits and vegetables for elementary school children during the school day. The 2008 farm bill amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act by adding section 19, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. This new section replaces a previous program in a limited number of states, and expands fresh fruits and vegetables to selected schools in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

All students in participating schools receive fresh fruits and vegetables at no cost where a high proportion of children are eligible to receive free- or reduced-price school meals. In addition to more choice, their routines may grow to add fruits and vegetables into their daily meal choices outside of school. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is targeted to students in the neediest elementary schools in each state. Schools may apply for funding to operate this program on an annual basis. The Farm Bill makes available $40 million during the upcoming school years: 2008-2009, $65 million for 2009-2010, $101 million for 2010-2011, and $150 million for 2011-2012. Subsequent yearly funding is indexed for inflation. State funding levels are allocated through a formula and will be available October 1, 2008. Schools are encouraged to implement the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in partnership with non-federal organizations. In addition to the money made available by the Farm Bill, approximately $9 million was made available in the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) for distribution to States in support of school year 2008-2009 activity.

USDA Readies Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Purchases for Elementary School

USDA Holds Reauthorization Listening Sessions in Maryland, California

Last Wednesday, the series of USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s listening sessions on Child Nutrition Reauthorization continued in Baltimore, Md. and San Francisco, Calif. In both settings a strong turnout of individuals and organizations spoke out consistently about the need for additional funding for child nutrition programs. Also addressed were the need for uniform national nutrition standards, changes to the eligibility guidelines, elimination of the reduced price category, universal meals, school breakfast expansion and advantages and disadvantages of continuing to allow processed meats in the child nutrition programs.

Coming Soon: Educate Your Community!

Fact: Students that eat school lunches consume more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy than students that get their lunch from other sources. Fact: School lunches are a better value than lunches brought from home: it costs an average of $2.00 to buy a lunch at school versus $3.40 to bring from home. Do parents, grandparents, community leaders, teachers and school officials know these facts? This fall, from November 17 to 21, 2008, help educate your community.

  • Educate Your Community about the healthy food and beverage choices available in the local school dining room through the National School Lunch Program.
  • Educate Your Community about the great value that school lunch is.
  • Educate Your Community about supporting school nutrition programs during Child Nutrition Reauthorization next year and advocate for adequate funding.

Stay tuned to www.schoolnutrition.org for more information on thie opportunity to spread the word about school nutrition!

Former President Clinton Recognizes Schools for Healthy Innovations

From limiting sweets to encouraging student fitness, 43 U.S. schools that found ways to address childhood obesity were recognized by former President Bill Clinton at a ceremony last Wednesday to support the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Initiative. "Despite the rising food prices and constrained budgets impacting programs nationally, these schools are using innovative approaches to curb the country's alarming rates of childhood obesity," Clinton said. "Schools around the country are stepping up and making progress."

Schools recognized for healthy innovations

State Legislative Update

A bill and a resolution continued their progress through the California legislature last week. Assembly Bill 2300 would delete provisions regarding the inclusion of Medi-Cal benefits within the criteria for direct certification specified in federal law. The bill would permit the State Department of Education, in consultation with the State Department of Health Care Services to the extent permitted under federal law, and upon the receipt of federal funds for this purpose, to directly certify children into the school meal program. The bill is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Joint Resolution 69 also in California would memorialize that the Legislature supports reauthorization of federal child nutrition programs, that the California Legislature urges the President and the Congress of the United States to ensure reimbursement rates are adequate to fully fund the cost of producing a nutritious school meal relative to the cost of living in a region, and that the eligibility scale used to qualify families for free and reduced-priced meals be adjusted. The resolution is currently in the Assembly Education Committee.

Student Food Allergies in the News

Two articles out last week address students and food allergies. A recent study out of the University of Michigan Health System suggests many college students with food allergies aren't avoiding foods they know they shouldn’t eat or are regularly in environments where they could not be properly treated during an emergency. Among college students, researchers found that only 50 percent of the students who identified themselves as having an allergy to a food said they always avoided the food.  Two-thirds could verify that somebody close to them on campus was aware that they were food-allergic.  Only 43 percent of food allergic students kept emergency medication, such as self-injectible epinephrine on hand to treat a reaction.  Researchers identified the significant need for children and young adults to gain knowledge and awareness about food allergy and emergency treatment – before they reach college age. 

An Associated Press article addressed school districts that choose to ban certain allergen, such as peanut free schools or districts. The article finds that many in the school and health community advocate against bans for a variety of reasons.

Backlash to school peanut bans has unlikely allies 

Students with Food Allergies Often Not Prepared, ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2008) 

SNA Allergy Information Webpage

Report Looks at Restaurant Meals for Kids

A new study published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), "Kids’ Meals: Obesity on the Menu", evaluated the nutritional content of kids’ meals at the top 25 restaurant chains.  Using IOM standards and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for comparison, CSPI found that 93% of the hundreds of possible kids’ meal combinations exceed recommendations for calories, fat and sodium for 4-8 year old sedentary children.  In fact, 100% of possible meal combinations at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell exceed calorie limits – with some meals providing nearly 1000 calories.  On the positive side, Subway restaurants offers eight different meals which meet nutrition standards and they are the only restaurant not to provide soda as the default kids’ meal beverage.  Restaurants report working towards providing healthier options such as low fat milk, fruit, juice and yogurt, however they stress that parental responsibility is the key to good childhood nutrition.

Report Looks at Restaurant Meals for Kids

Study: Boys Benefit from Breakfast

Adolescents are more alert in school when they eat breakfast, researchers found. Boys in particular are in better moods and have improved visuospatial memory when they eat morning meals. Dr. Katharina Widenhorn-Mueller of Ulm University and her colleagues note in the most recent issue of the medical journal Pediatrics that males reported being in a worse mood when they went without breakfast, and their visuospatial memory was also negatively affected, but the same wasn't true of girls. Eating breakfast had no effect on students' ability to sustain attention, but all of the students reported feeling more alert after eating breakfast. There are several ways that eating breakfast might be helpful, the researchers note; it could give people the energy and nutrients they need to produce brain signaling chemicals known as neurotransmitters, while the protein, carbohydrate and fat composition of the meal might also effect mood.

Breakfast benefits may differ for boys, girls

How Food Companies are Combating Rising Costs

In the face of skyrocketing commodities prices, the Wall Street Journal reports that companies from General Mills to Kellogg are rethinking the amount of food they provide in their packages in order to keep their costs low and still keep consumers from switching to other brands. Companies that have built strong brands are having the most success in these efforts, according to reports. In an August 8, 2008, article, the Journal states “Farmers are making the broadest cuts to their livestock herds in decades, meaning meat at the supermarket will likely cost more in coming years. Middlemen are trying to shorten the duration of supply contracts to 90 days from one year so they can pass on higher costs more quickly. And food brands are shrinking the contents of their packages, from ice-cream cartons to beverage containers.”

Food Giants Race to Pass Rising Costs to Shoppers

 

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

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, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia.

 


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