A group of young people at an indoor summer site enjoy a nutritious meal. They know that Summer Food Rocks!
This week is National Summer Food Service Program Kickoff Week, an important time to emphasize USDA’s commitment to ensure children and teens have access to safe, nutritious meals when school lets out. Through the Summer Food Service Program, federal assistance is provided for state agencies and non-profit sponsors to help children in eligible high-need areas get the proper nutrition they need during the summer when schools are not in session.
Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, students across the country are getting healthier school meals with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, as well as less sugar, fat, and sodium. With more than 90 percent of schools meeting the healthy meal standards, children are getting the nutrition needed to reach their full potential. But poor nutrition during the summer months can also affect children’s academic performance during the school year. USDA’s summer feeding programs help children get the nourishing food they need all year long so they come back to school in the fall ready to learn. Read more »
Child at a school food pantry. Image provided by Feeding America.
During March, National Nutrition Month®, USDA will highlight various nutrition topics that are near and dear to our hearts. We don’t work on these issues alone however. This guest blog post acknowledges one USDA National Strategic Partner, Feeding America, for the outstanding work they do to address childhood hunger and food insecurity and promote MyPlate. Learn more below:
By Jessica Hager, MA in Social Service Administration, Nutrition Coordinator, Feeding America
Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of one’s life, is important for establishing a good foundation that has implications for future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 15.9 million children—1 in 5—under the age of 18 in America live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life (Household Food Security in the United States in 2012. Table 1B.USDA ERS.) Additionally, Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap 2013 research found that 20 percent or more of the child population in each of 37 states and D.C. live in food-insecure households (Map the Meal Gap 2013, Feeding America).
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Last week, I met up with Washington Redskins linebacker Darryl Tapp to help kick off Fuel Up to Play 60’s new Make Your Move effort and see how kids at Kenilworth Elementary School in Bowie, Maryland are eating healthier and getting active at school and at home. Fuel up to Play 60 is a partnership between the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council.
Tapp and I challenged students to “Make Your Move” by having fun and playing hard while fueling their bodies with healthy foods. My favorite part? Hearing a resounding chorus of “YES!” when I asked students if they liked the healthier breakfasts and lunches served in their cafeteria. Read more »
Chocolate milk is becoming a popular drink for adults looking to recover after a tough workout. Check out the Milk Pep site for milk research, recipes, and much more. Photo courtesy of Tracy Benjamin
Successful businesses use research to meet changing consumer demands. The dairy industry uses innovative research promoted by National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board (commonly referred to as the Milk Processor Education Program or MilkPEP), and other organizations to find new markets for their products. Milk has always been known as a good source of calcium and for helping to strengthen bones. However, recent studies have proven that there are other benefits of drinking milk.
Whether you are a college soccer player, a professional cyclist or just working out for better health, several studies have shown that drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a tough workout helps muscles recover and refuels the body for the next workout. The research has caught the attention of a new audience: athletes and adults looking for peak athletic performances. Whether they are training for a big race or preparing for the next weight lifting workout at the gym, lowfat chocolate milk is becoming a popular drink for adults. Read more »
People of all ages can participate in National Dairy Month. Visit the National Dairy Council’s website for some great dairy-based recipes.
During June, we often celebrate many things: National Homeownership Month, the end of the school year and graduations, Father’s Day, and being able to watch our favorite teams duke it on the baseball diamond. But at USDA we have another favorite June celebration – National Dairy Month. Read more »
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
Today I had the honor of joining some of our nation’s principal thought-leaders at the site of Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, Texas, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines an unprecedented private-public partnership committed to child health and wellness. The co-signers included myself, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NDC CEO Thomas Gallagher and Gen YOUth Foundation CEO Alexis Glick. During the event, I unveiled a new television public service announcement (PSA) featuring a local favorite, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, that encourages youth to participate in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The PSA was developed by the Ad Council in collaboration with Let’s Move!, USDA, NFL, NFL Player Association, and National Dairy Council, and will be distributed to stations nationwide this week. Read more »