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Tuesday Morning January 15, 2008

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January 15, 2008

 

Table of Contents

USDA, IOM to Develop Revised Meal Pattern Requirements
Summit on School Nutrition Standards Held
State Legislative Update
USDA Announces Purchases of Tart Cherries, Plums
IOM Establishes Committee on Childhood Overweight
Change Our World, Raise Awareness during Global Child Nutrition Month
GMA Releases Industry Report on Wellness Initiatives
Study Shows Physical Activity Helps Teens Avoid Overweight
 

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State and Federal Legislation

 

USDA, IOM to Develop Revised Meal Pattern Requirements

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is contracting with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to develop updated meal pattern requirements for the school nutrition programs by incorporating the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). USDA decided to contract with the IOM due to the complex issues facing the child nutrition programs.

The IOM will convene a panel of child nutrition experts to develop recommendations for the USDA for updates to the meal patterns and nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). USDA estimates that it will take 18 to 24 for the IOM to develop the recommendations. Once the recommendations are provided by the IOM, USDA will begin the rule making process to approve the new meal pattern requirements.

USDA is encouraging all state agencies and school food authorities to start implementing the 2005 DGAs as they wait for the new meal pattern recommendations. In a memo dated December 17, 2007, provides some guidance about how to meet the goals of key areas in the DGAs. School nutrition directors are encouraged to serve more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as 1% milk. Other goals include gradually decreasing the amount of sodium and cholesterol, increasing intake of fiber, and limiting trans fats. To view a copy of this memo, please see Related Links.

Summit on School Nutrition Standards Held

Over 100 school nutrition professionals representing school districts, state school nutrition associations, the food and foodservice equipment industry and state agencies gathered on Saturday, January 12, 2008, one day before the SNA Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) for a National Nutrition Standards Summit. After hearing presentations on the Institute of Medicine voluntary nutrition standards, Alliance for a Healthier Generation voluntary standards and proposed SNA standards, smaller discussion groups discussed four key issues: sugar levels for dairy, sodium levels for snacks, the definition of whole grains, and whether state and local standards should be preempted. The SNA Nutrition Standards Task Force will now review all of the feedback from the Summit as well as information submitted to SNA over the past two months. SNA will then present revised, proposed national nutrition standards.

Following the Summit, the CNIC kicked off. Over 370 attendees heard presentations on wellness policy implementation, trends and research in school nutrition, USDA commodity news and more. USDA Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez Johner addressed the group Monday morning, January 14th. She thanked members for the work they do to promote healthy eating among children and discussed both the Farm Bill process as well as early plans to solicit input for Child Nutrition Reauthoirzation in 2009. The conference concludes today.

State Legislative Update

In the first few days of the 2008 legislative session, a flurry of school nutrition related legislation has been introduced. Several bills deal with school nutrition standards. In Colorado, legislators have introduced legislation to create the Healthy School Foods and Drinks Grant Program. If passed, S. 43 would award grants to school districts that meet specific nutrition criteria for a la carte sales, vending machine, and school store sales. In New Hampshire, HB 1435 would require school nutrition programs to meet the Institute of Medicine (IOM) competitive food standards. If passed, these standards would be effective on August 15, 2008. A bill introduced in Kentucky also deals with foods sold in schools. The bill, HB 73, would ban the sale of caffeine-stoked energy drinks in schools. Tennessee reintroduced legislation to ban the use of trans fat in the school nutrition program. HB 615 was introduced last year, but did not pass.

In a 8 to 1 vote, the West Virginia Board of Education decided last week to ban the sale of caffeinated beverages in schools. The nutrition policy also sets limits on food and drinks high in sodium, sugar, and fat, as well as bans trans fat. Additionally, last week a state legislative committee recommended that the state ban all soft drinks and sugar snack items from sale in schools.

In Washington State, legislators are considering introducing legislation that would expand farm to school programs. According to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the legislation would allocate $4 million towards creating farm to school programs. If the bill were to pass, at least $2 millions would be spend on allowing schools with high low-income student populations to serve more Washington grown fruits and vegetables as snacks. It would also ease restrictions on purchasing locally grown products.

For more information, please visit Related Links.

USDA Announces Purchases of Tart Cherries, Plums

Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner announced last week that the Department of Agriculture will purchase up to 8.1 million pounds of tart cherries and half a million pounds of canned plums. These purchased products will be donated to the child nutrition programs and other food assistance programs. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of food products for distribution to the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and other domestic food assistance programs. USDA also makes emergency purchases of commodity items for victims of natural disasters.

IOM Establishes Committee on Childhood Overweight

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently announced the establishment of the Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention. The committee will issue a series of reports and high level guidance to leaders regarding ways to prevent and lessen the risk of childhood overweight. Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the committee will meet approximately 2 to 3 times a year. The IOM is currently seeking nominations of experts in a variety of fields related to childhood nutrition and health.

Change Our World, Raise Awareness during Global Child Nutrition Month

Mark your calendars! This April, the SNA and the Global Child Nutrition Foundation will be observing the 1st ever Global Child Nutrition Month. School nutrition professionals are encouraged to take one day, one week or all month to partner with students and teachers in an effort to raise awareness about the ravages of hunger among children around the globe and here in the United States. This observance is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the solutions to global hunger and poverty. Among these are the school-based feeding program initiatives supported by GCNF.

Starting this month, school nutrition professionals and students can begin raising funds for the Change Our World campaign. Change Our World is a fundraising campaign that benefits GCNF and sponsored by Schwan's Food Service. Starting on January 25th, school nutrition directors can visit the Change Our World website for ideas about how to raise funds and awareness about global childhood hunger.

For additional information on how you can help, please see Related Links.

Personnel Changes in the School Nutrition Arena

Cindy Long has been named the Director of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Child Nutrition Division.  Long will take over for Stanley Garnett, who retired this month.  Long was a participant in USDA’s Senior Executive Candidate Development Program before joining FNS.

Lynne Parker has been named staff director of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention.  Parker was most recently the director of Child Nutrition Programs and Nutrition at the Food Research and Action Center.  In this position, she directed nutrition policy and research on the federal child nutrition programs.  Parker served as a member of the IOM Committee on Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools, the committee that drafted the IOM recommendations for competitive food sales.

GMA Releases Industry Report on Wellness Initiatives

The GMA, the Association of Food, Beverages, and Consumer Products Companies, released an industry report on wellness initiatives last week. Included in the report was a section on “Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Schools.” In the report, GMA outlined their support for various child nutrition related pieces of legislation and it's position on local school wellness policies. The report also discussed the American Council on Fitness and Nutrition's (ACFN) involvement in the Healthy Schools Partnership pilot program in Kansas City, Mo. ACFN a non-profit foundation started by the food and beverage industry. A variety of other topics were covered in the report, including marketing and consumer information.

To view a copy of the report, please visit Related Links

Study Shows Physical Activity Helps Teens Avoid Overweight

A study published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that teenagers who participated in physical activity both inside and outside of school were at less of risk of becoming overweight than other teens. The study, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, found that children who were physically active were two more likely to avoid being overweight as teens and young adults than teens who did not. Teens that participated in activities such as rollerblading, skateboarding and bicycling were the most likely to keep weight off as a teenager. Additionally, each day a student participated in physical activity in school, their risk of becoming an overweight adult decreased by 5%.

For more information, please visit Related Links.

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

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, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and District of Columbia.


 
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