As we celebrate Mother’s Day, it is most appropriate to recognize the important role women play in shaping the eating patterns of their family members and especially, their children. So today, we are launching an updated web site with new messages, tools, and resources to help nutrition educators reach one of the most critically important target groups—moms. FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Women, Infants and Children Program that help individuals and families meet their nutrition needs. Since many participants in these programs are women and children, moms are a high priority for nutrition education because they can make a big impact of the eating habits of their families.
The new resources include 13 audience-tested core nutrition messages, tips for making healthier choices, ideas for tasty meals and snacks that include whole grains, milk, fruits and vegetables, and other easy to use ways to help consumers to understand and put MyPlate recommendations into practice. Testing showed that these materials resonate with moms, provide realistic ways to engage their children, and offer appealing tips to incorporate whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk, and fruits and vegetables into family meals and snacks.
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A Bureau of Printing and Engraving employee examines a run of food stamps for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for errors in May 1974. Photo courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.
Happy Birthday USDA!! We are 150 years strong, serving as federal department bettering the lives of the American people. For over 40 years USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has served as the federal agency in USDA that administers the Nation’s domestic nutrition assistance programs. Our 15 programs comprise the Nation’s food safety net, serving 1 in 4 Americans. They include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and The Emergency Food Assistance Program, among others. Read more »
As Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, I know that our 15 nutrition assistance programs help a wide variety of people around the country. But there’s nothing like getting out of the office to personally witness the boots on the ground efforts by those who administer and promote our programs on a daily basis. I recently traveled to the FNS Southwest Regional Office in Dallas to meet federal and state personnel and partners and to tour several centers that make up the first line of defense in creating our nation’s safety net against hunger.
One place that I found particularly impressive during my travel was the Dallas Community Baby Café, sponsored by the City of Dallas WIC program. The Women Infants and Children or WIC program provides aid to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding mothers, and their children up to age five who are at nutritional risk. Conveniently co-located next to a WIC clinic that serves over six thousand participants a month, the café is the newest member of a family of 12 centers located around the United States. It provides a relaxed, non-clinical place for pregnant and breastfeeding moms to get advice about lactation from professional and certified consultants free of charge. Read more »
A local WIC staff member holds her sleeping baby as she listens to the peer counseling instructor.
March is Women’s History month, a time when we highlight everything woman. In the midst of farming and biofuels, research and forestry would you believe that the USDA also finds time to promote breastfeeding? The answer is absolutely! You already know that the agency supports a myriad of nutrition programs to help make America’s children healthy and hunger-free. Research has shown that there is no better food than breast milk for a baby’s first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional, economical and emotional benefits to mother and baby. Since a major goal of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, WIC mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their infants. WIC promotes breastfeeding to all pregnant women as the optimal infant feeding choice, unless medically contraindicated. So what exactly is WIC doing to support breastfeeding? The answer is a lot! Read more »
Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.
Farmers Market Month may be over, but USDA’s commitment to promoting the use of farmers markets continues. Farmers markets are important for a number of reasons but, in particular, they’ve been an integral part of our efforts to bring nutritious foods to Americans who participate in programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Since the number of markets accepting nutrition assistance benefits has increased, we think it’s a great time to look at how effective farmers markets have been when it comes to increasing low income household access to nutritious foods. Read more »
Like a broken street light, childhood hunger impacts the well-being of the community and will only be fixed when the local community recognizes it, takes an interest, and decides to address it. When those who care come together, pool their talents, and take advantage of available resources, things start to happen. Things get fixed.
The city of Dallas is getting serious about ending childhood hunger. Just a month after the October kick-off of the No Kid Hungry Texas campaign, local leaders came together for a hunger summit in Dallas in November. The diverse line-up of speakers was inspiring! There were leaders from Congress, all levels of government, faith-based organizations, food banks, non-profit organizations and schools. Every speaker was passionate and convincing about the need and ability to end childhood hunger. Read more »