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|Thursday, September 16, 2010||16:43|
(Drinks Media Wire). To: Health, Congressional and Editorial writers
Fr: Margo Wootan, CSPI
Re: Child nutrition must pass by September 30th
Unlike many other bills, child nutrition is one that has passed the Senate and is waiting for House action. In contrast, there are almost 350 bills passed by the House that are now awaiting Senate action. The House of Representatives has the chance to take immediate action on an issue impacting more than 30 million kids.
Before heading out for the August recess, the Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation (S. 3307) to reauthorize the child nutrition programs. The House Education and Labor Committee approved their own bill (H.R. 5504), which now must be brought to the House floor. A final bill must be sent to the President to be signed into law before the child nutrition programs expire on September 30.
The core provisions in the House and Senate child nutrition bills are similar; both make historic improvements to programs to address childhood hunger and obesity. Some of the key nutrition provisions in the bills include:
Getting junk food and sugary drinks out of schools – advocates have been working for a decade to update the national school nutrition standards, which now even the food and beverage industry support
Increased meal reimbursement rates – while schools could use additional funds, this is the largest increase since the inception of the school lunch program
Technical assistance, improved meal financing, and increased accountability to improve school meal quality
Strengthened school wellness policies – to help schools improve nutrition and physical activity for their students
Establish nutrition requirements for childcare and provide guidance and technical assistance to help childcare providers improve nutrition and physical activity for young children through the Child and Adult Care Food program
Investments in farm-to-school programs, to help bring more healthy, local produce to schools
The House bill includes additional provisions to promote child health that are not in the Senate bill, including:
Nutrition promotion/education – to help address child nutrition and obesity by educating kids about the importance of healthy eating and enhancing the effectiveness of other child nutrition programs and policies in the bill, such as providing training to schools to meet stronger school meal standards, helping schools identify healthier options for vending machines, and technical assistance to schools to use U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities more healthfully
Wellness policy technical assistance – to help schools implement strong local nutrition and physical activity policies
An accountability study – provides funds for USDA to develop and test a new way to assess if schools are meeting school nutrition standards. Current assessments are only of the lunches served in one school per school district every five years and are laborious for schools. A simplified, less burdensome and more effective approach would lead to healthier school meals.
The child nutrition reauthorization must be finished by September 30th. Renewal of the child nutrition programs already has been delayed for more than a year. Children shouldn’t have to wait any longer. With almost one-third of children and adolescents in this country overweight or obese and $150 billion spent every year in the U.S. to treat obesity-related conditions, the health and economic risks of failing to pass this bill are too great.
|Name: Communications Department|
|Company: Center for Science in the Public Interest|
|Address: 1875 Connecticut Avenue - 20009 Washington|
|Country: UNITED STATES|
|Phone: +1 202 332 9110|
|Fax: +1 202 265 4954|