Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Nourishing a Nation at the Wholesome Wave Foundation Conference

By Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, USDA

Exploring creative avenues to nourish a nation is a great to start any week.  And that’s exactly what USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan and I had the opportunity to do this Monday (May 10, 2010) during the first Wholesome Wave Foundation conference in Washington, DC.

The Wholesome Wave Foundation is a nonprofit organization that, with the help of its partner organizations, provides locally grown food to underserved neighborhoods across the nation.  They’ve achieved success through partnership-based programs that serve food deserts in rural and urban communities. And thanks to the important connections they’ve established, their efforts boost the visibility of existing Federal, State and local government agencies that share their values.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan is never an easy act to follow, but the conference did offer a natural forum for issues like childhood obesity and childhood hunger. So a dialogue on the strategies of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign, the HealthierUS School Challenge, and expanding access to healthy foods at farmers’ markets through SNAP (formerly food stamps) and WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) – was enthusiastically embraced.

After the presentation, I was fortunate enough to meet a number of community leaders and stakeholders attending the conference, including an impressive group of farmers’ market operators in Maine – a place I have worked, lived, and known fondly for years.  Next, I spoke with media on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, SNAP EBT cards, and the impressive strides recently made in Texas to provide nutrition assistance benefits to their most vulnerable citizens.

The foundation’s hallmark Double Value Coupon Program encourages the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables by doubling the value of SNAP/food stamp dollars at participating farmers’ markets throughout the country.  It’s an innovative idea, and one that shares our mission of fostering a healthier nation for all.

Your Health, Our National Security

By Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Today I joined U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and retired admirals and generals from the non-profit group, Mission: Readiness, to release the results of a study on obesity among young adults. The report delivered some disturbing news – more than 9 million young adults, age 17 to 24, are now too overweight to join the military.  But with this news comes opportunity and optimism to help our kids across the country to lead healthier lifestyles.

The Mission: Readiness group, which consists of more than 130 retired admirals, generals and other military leaders, has shown America that the obesity epidemic is threatening the nation’s security, and is calling on Congress to support the administration’s proposal of an increase of $1 billion per year for ten years for child nutrition programs.

As Congress debates reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, it is important to recognize the historical context and future impact this legislation will have on our nation – our economy, our national security, and our communities. Immediately after the World War II, our leaders understood the importance of investing in good nutrition to ensure that the country would never want for healthy, strong, young people to serve in uniform.  And so, in 1946, President Harry Truman signed the National School Lunch Act – which formed the basis for the nutrition programs we still have in place today.

Fast forward 60 years and we are faced with a generation of young Americans that are not healthy or fit enough to serve their country as their forefathers have.  The Obama Administration and Mission Readiness stand united behind the following priorities for the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act: get the junk food out of our schools; support increased funding to improve nutritional standards and the quality of meals served in schools; and provide more children access to effective programs that cut obesity.

This is a crisis that strikes at the core value of service to country and community. Let this study serve as a call to action for all Americans. What can you do to help your country? Get fit, get active, get healthy

USDA’s Nutrition Tour Makes Pit Stop in South Carolina

Cross-posted from the www.letsmove.gov blogBy Julie Paradis, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator

This week I got a chance to travel to South Carolina and to talk to child nutrition staff from South Carolina as well as surrounding States like Tennessee, Mississippi and North Carolina about how we plan to improve school meals and the overall health of our nation’s children. It was a great group and a productive discussion.

This Administration’s goal is to improve child nutrition by ending child hunger and childhood obesity. As Administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, I can tell you that we’re committed to meeting this goal. FNS has 15 nutrition assistance programs—many of which serve children directly. Our National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs serve 32 million and 11 million children respectively. For many of the children we serve, School Lunch and Breakfast are the only nutritious meals they eat in a day.

Currently, our child nutrition programs are up for reauthorization. I see this as a crucial opportunity to make inroads toward ending child hunger and obesity. A strong reauthorization would help give parents, school districts, State Agencies, and all of our other partners the support and resources they need to make a difference. I was inspired by the level of commitment shown by those who attended the April 12 discussion in Charleston.  I heard a lot of great suggestions on how to make our programs more effective.  My hope is that through child nutrition reauthorization we can help creative ideas come to fruition.

Todd Bedenbaugh with the South Carolina Department of Education said, “It’s imperative that Secretary Vilsack is given the authority to regulate all foods sold during the school day to include vending machines and school stores. It will allow us to improve nutrition Integrity in the schools.”

I agree. One thing that we are acutely aware of is the fact that we must address hunger and obesity from many angles.  Nutrition assistance programs won’t solve these problems alone. That’s why I’m so excited about the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. Let’s Move! is the type of integrated approach that is absolutely necessary.

We have to combine our efforts to serve better meals through nutrition assistance programs with efforts to improve access to healthy and affordable food, increase children’s physical activity, and help parents make healthy choices for their families.

Alice Lenihan with the NC Department of Health and Human Services applauds the First Lady for her efforts.  She said, “It’s the best thing that has come along in a long time. I urge the Administration and Congress to implement the CNR Bill. We need to shift our forces onto nutrition and physical activity. It’s an exciting time to be involved in child nutrition.” Alice Lenihan N C.

Child Nutrition reauthorization can ensure Let’s Move! gets the support it deserves.

My colleagues and I have several stops planned across the country.  Our goal is to escalate the national conversation on child nutrition. The feedback we get will help us take steps that build healthier families and communities across America.

 Roundtable group shot. FNCS Administrator Julie Paradis, Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs Audrey Rowe, and Southeast Regional Administrator Don Arnette meet with key state personnel and advocates from South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia, to discuss Child Nutrition Reauthorization in Charleston, S.C., Apr 12.
Roundtable group shot. FNS Administrator Julie Paradis, Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs Audrey Rowe, and Southeast Regional Administrator Don Arnette meet with key state personnel and advocates from South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia, to discuss Child Nutrition Reauthorization in Charleston, S.C., Apr 12.

FNCS Administrator Julie Paradis discusses the Child Nutrition Reauthorization with Southeast Regional Administrator Donald Arnette and state personnel in Charleston, S.C., Apr 12. FNS Administrator Julie Paradis discusses the Child Nutrition Reauthorization with Southeast Regional Administrator Donald Arnette and state personnel in Charleston, S.C., Apr 12