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Posts tagged: Childhood Obesity

USDA Proposes Professional Standards in National School Lunch, Breakfast Programs; Announces New Progress in Implementing Meal Standards

Today, USDA proposed the establishment of minimum national professional standards and training requirements for school nutrition professionals who manage and operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

The standards, another key provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), aim to institute education and certification standards for school nutrition professionals. These new standards will ensure that school nutrition personnel have the training and tools they need to plan, prepare and purchase healthy products to create nutritious, safe and enjoyable school meals.

As a former school nutrition director I can tell you that school nutrition professionals across the country are pleased with the new meal patterns established by the HHFKA, which requires schools to prepare healthier meals for 32 million children each day. Schools are at the forefront of national efforts to improve nutrition and reduce obesity in our Nation’s children. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: The Building Blocks for a Healthier America

At USDA, we are working hard to ensure that America’s next generation has access to the healthy foods they need to grow, learn, achieve, and eventually to compete and succeed on a global stage.

We are focused on feeding a healthier future, but we are also learning that the country as a whole is making the shift towards a more health-conscious society. USDA recently released a study that shows that the diets of American adults are improving. More people are reading nutrition labels and using that information to make healthier food choices at the grocery stores. We are eating out less and sitting down around the supper table with family more. Read more »

FNS Takes Nutrition Message to DC United’s Youth Soccer Event

DC United Mascot Talon helped us promote MyPlate and the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition.

DC United Mascot Talon helped us promote MyPlate and the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition.

The DC United Soccer Club held its “Fall Kick” a couple weeks ago and I was happy to attend and help them mark the end of the fall season. The “Fall Kick” brought together youth ages 6-12 from across the District and Maryland to RFK stadium making it a perfect event to reach out to the local community and spread FNCS’ message of good nutrition and physical activity.

The event featured tournament style matches, DC United players and mascot Talon, music, and educational games involving nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Around 400 kids, their coaches, and parents visited our booth to learn about proper diet and nutrition. I brought with me a set of engaging games such as “Duck, Duck, Fruit!” and the “Eat Smart. Play Hard. Relay” as activities to teach the children key elements to healthy eating. Read more »

Reporte USDA: Programa WIC aumenta la lactancia materna, llega a los más necesitados

Nutricionistas del WIC discuten opciones de alimentos saludables con participantes y niños

Nutricionistas del WIC discuten opciones de alimentos saludables con participantes y niños

Los programas de nutrición del USDA (por siglas en inglés) proveen acceso a una dieta saludable a millones de americanos elegibles para las ayudas cada mes. Ya sea en escuelas, centros comunitarios o en casas de todo el país, estos programas trabajan en conjunto como una red de seguridad nutritiva para asegurar que ningún americano que cualifique pase hambre.

Considero que la nutrición suplementar para mujeres, infantes y niños, mejor conocida como WIC (por sus siglas en inglés)  es un programa especial. Dicho programa provee alimentos suplementarios a los más vulnerables—infantes, embarazadas, mujeres lactando y luego del parto y a niños hasta la edad de 5 años que enfrentan un riesgo nutricional. WIC también provee referencias para atención médica y social, y para educación nutritiva, incluyendo la promoción y el soporte a la lactancia materna. Read more »

USDA Report: WIC Boosts Breastfeeding, Reaches Those in Need

WIC nutritionists discuss healthy food choices with program participants and children.

WIC nutritionists discuss healthy food choices with program participants and children.

USDA’s nutrition assistance programs provide access to a healthy diet for millions of eligible Americans each month. Whether in schools, community feeding sites, or in households across the country, they comprise a nutrition safety net to ensure that no eligible American goes hungry.

In my opinion the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as “WIC,” is indeed a special program. It provides supplemental foods to our most vulnerable — infants, pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk.  WIC also provides referrals to social and health care services and nutrition education, including breastfeeding promotion and support. Read more »

In Case You Missed It: Study Finds Offering Healthier School Snacks Helps Kids Make Healthier Choices at Home

Last week, researchers from Michigan State University, Oakland University, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Education came out with a new study showing that when schools offer healthier snacks in vending machines and a la carte lines, students’ overall diets improve. Students in schools that offered healthier snacks consumed more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and not just at school—at home, too.

This is encouraging news for schools and school nutrition professionals as they begin implementing the Smart Snacks in School standards, which will ensure that students are offered healthier food options during the school day. Smart Snacks in School requires more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner protein, while still leaving plenty of room for tradition, like homemade birthday treats and bake sale fundraisers. Read more »