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Tuesday Morning - December 9, 2008

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December 9, 2008

Table of Contents

IOM Committee Chair Dr. Virginia Stallings to Speak at LAC

Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing on Child Nutrition Programs

McCarthy, Schumer Show Support for School Nutrition Programs

USDA Sliced Apple Program Temporarily Halted

California School Nutrition Programs Face Budget Shortfall

Texas Department of Agriculture Proposes Changes to State Nutrition Policy

RWJF Launches $44 Million Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Program

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IOM Committee Chair Dr. Virginia Stallings to Speak at LAC

stallings

Dr. Virginia Stallings

Dr. Virginia Stallings, chair of the Institute of Medicine Committee to Review the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program Meal Patterns and Standards will speak at LAC Wednesday morning, March 4, 2009.  Dr. Stallings will update LAC attendees regarding the committee’s progress. Please make sure you stay for this very important session on Wednesday morning. The Committee is scheduled to release their Phase 1 report on December 17, 2008. This report will describe the approach the committee intends to use in making recommendations during Phase II of its study.

The Committee to Review the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program Meal Patterns and Standards is charged with reviewing and assessing the food and nutritional needs of school-aged children in the United States based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes. The committee will then develop a set of economical and practical recommendations for new meal pattern requirements and standards that reflect current nutrition science and better meet the nutritional needs of students.  These recommendations, compiled in a final report, will then be used to develop new meal pattern requirements for the school nutrition programs. Other committee members come from a variety of backgrounds in academia, school foodservice, and medicine.

Dr. Stallings is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.  She is also the Jean A. Cortner Endowed Chair in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Director of the Nutrition Center, and Director of the Office of Faculty Development at the Joseph Stokes Jr. Research Institute and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  She previously served as chair of the Nutrition Standards for Food in Schools Committee, which created recommendations for competitive food items.

Review of National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program Meal Patterns and Nutrient Standards

Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Hearing on Child Nutrition Programs

On December 8, 2009, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee held a hearing entitled "Promoting Health, Preventing Chronic Disease and Fighting Hunger, Assessment of USDA Food Assistance and Child Nutrition Programs In the Economic Downturn." Witness included Dr. Eileen Kennedy of the Friedman School of Nutrition Policy and Science at Tufts University in Boston, Mass.; Dr. Mariana Chilton of the Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Project in Philadelphia, Penn.; Ms. Mary Kay Fox of Mathematica Policy Research in Cambridge, Mass.; and Ms. Carolyn Duff, school nurse, AC Moore Elementary School in Columbia, SC. Chairman Harkin (D-IA,) Senator Lugar (R-IN,) Senator Leahy (D-VT,) Senator Casey (D-PA,) and Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) all attended the hearing.

In his opening statement, Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) argued that the child nutrition programs need to be looked at as more than food assistance programs, but also as preventative health programs.  Other senators, including Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called for increased funding for the school nutrition programs. Several of the witness, including Ms. Fox, emphasized the nutritional value of school meals. See below for more information.

Harkin Statement

Leahy Statement

School health experts warn of growing hunger

McCarthy, Schumer Show Support for School Nutrition Programs

Two members of the New York Congressional delegation are urging Congress to support increased funding for school nutrition programs.  In an opinion piece published in Newsday, Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) argued that the school nutrition programs need additional funding in order to provide healthy meals to students, especially as the cost of food continues to rise.  She stated that she will use her power as a subcommittee chairwoman to increase financial support for the programs. McCarthy is the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also went on record last week, pushing for more locally grown foods in the school nutrition programs.  In an article published last Thursday in Newsday, Schumer offered to help find cost-effective ways to allow schools to bring locally grown produce into their cafeterias.  Schumer pointed to the Farm Bill as a means of finding additional money.

Kids’ school nutrition key to lifelong health 

Schumer wants local farms’ produce in school cafeterias

USDA Sliced Apple Program Temporarily Halted

The Packer newspaper reported last week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has halted its planned purchase of nearly 3 million pounds of fresh apple slices which were to be used primarily to supply school nutrition programs through USDA Foods (the commodity program.) The program was stalled in early December apparently because of confusion with the online bidding process for suppliers and distributors. USDA initially awarded contracts to four of nine suppliers on Nov. 21, but notified the companies on Dec. 1 that the contracts were terminated for the 2.9 million pounds of apple slices. USDA intendes to reissue the invitation to bid for suppliers and distributors in the near future. To read more see Related Links.

USDA sliced apple program hits snag

California School Nutrition Programs Face Budget Shortfall

The California Department of Education is facing a budget shortfall that may cause it to run out of money to reimburse school nutrition programs. In California, school districts receive approximately $0.22 from the state in addition to the federal reimbursement.  This money is tied to improving the nutritional quality of meals served to students. Last year, state funds were depleted by May.  State officials are concerned that the state may run out of funding earlier.

California in danger of running out of money for school meals – Los Angeles Times

Texas Department of Agriculture Proposes Changes to State Nutrition Policy

Late last month the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) formally proposed several revisions to the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy (TPSNP). The proposed new sections of regulation would adopt by rule the existing TPSNP, in accordance with recommendations made by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission in its review of the Texas Department of Agriculture. TDA established the TPSNP in 2004 in response to data showing that Texas children were overweight or obese at a significantly higher rate than the nation as a whole.

In 2007, TDA established the Healthy Students=Healthy Families Advisory Committee to evaluate the TPSNP from the perspective of various stakeholders including health officials, parents, school administrators, and more. Originally a set of nutrition guidelines, TPSNP was to enhance the nutrition standards for all foods served in Texas public schools participating in the National School Lunch  Program, including the Seamless Summer Option and After School Care Program, and  School Breakfast Program, including school meals , a la carte items, snack bars, vending machines, school stores, and fundraising through grade-specific guidelines for unregulated foods. The TPSNP was amended in 2006 to enact greater restrictions on competitive foods, candy, fats, and frying. . The proposed sections include the policy, all updates to the policy, and all revisions for school years 2008-09 and 2009-10 and can be accessed below. Comments on the proposed additions can be submitted to Fred Higgins, Assistant Commissioner for Food and Nutrition , Texas Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711. Comments must be received by December 16, 2008.

RWJF Launches $44 Million Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Program

As the first investment of a new $44 million initiative, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded grants of up to $400,000 to nine communities across the country that will serve as leading sites for an effort to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities will support local action to increase opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy, affordable foods for children and families. The goal is to catalyze policy and environmental changes that can make a lasting difference and be replicated nationally.

The leading sites are Chicago; Columbia, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Seattle; Somerville, Mass.; Washington; and Baldwin Park, Central Valley and Oakland in California. All will serve as mentors when the initiative expands next year to approximately 60 more communities. RWJF already has released a call for proposals for that second round of funding, which will award grants of up to $360,000. Partnerships from across the United States and its territories are eligible to apply, but preference will be given to applicants from 15 states with particularly high prevalence of or risk for childhood obesity: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. The deadline for brief proposals is February 3. Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a major part of RWJF's five-year, $500 million commitment to reverse the epidemic in the United States by 2015.

RWJ Foundation Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Program

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


 
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