News

White House and USDA Announce School Wellness Standards

First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announce proposed school wellness standards and roll out of breakfast and lunch programs for schools that serve low income communities

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joins U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies. The bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandated that the USDA set guidelines for what needed to be included in local school wellness policies in areas such as setting goals for nutrition education and physical activity, informing parents about content of the policy and implementation, and periodically assessing progress and sharing updates as appropriate. As part of local school wellness policies, the proposed guidelines would ensure that foods and beverages marketed to children in schools are consistent with the recently-released Smart Snacks in School standards. Ensuring that unhealthy food is not marketed to children is one of the First Lady’s top priorities; that is why it is so important for schools to reinforce the importance of healthy choices and eliminate marketing of unhealthy products.

For more: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAOC/bulletins/a7723a

Senior Hunger

The number of older adults is projected to increase over the next decade and continue to rise in the following decade. In 2040 there will be 79.7 million older adults, more than twice as many as in 2000.  Additionally, the senior population is becoming increasingly diverse.  Between 2012 and 2030, the white population of 65 and plus is projected to increase by 54% compared with 125% of older minorities. [i]

These changing demographics will have profound impacts on the demand for social services, especially the need for adequate and culturally appropriate nutrition services.  Seniors may have unique nutritional needs and challenges that separate them from the rest of the population and must be considered.

Read more at: http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts/senior-hunger.aspx

Many chronically ill Americans unable to afford food, medicine

(Reuters Health) – One in three Americans with a chronic disease such as diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure has difficulty paying for food, medications or both, according to a new study.

People who had trouble affording food were four times more likely to skip some of their medications due to cost than those who got plenty to eat, researchers found.

“This leads to an obvious tension between ‘milk’ or ‘med,’” said Dr. Niteesh Choudhry, who worked on the study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If you have a fixed income, should you treat or should you eat?”

To read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/30/us-chronic-americans-idUSBREA0T16X20140130

 

 

 

Senate passes farm bill, cuts food stamps/SNAP

The Senate passed a farm bill on Tuesday that ends direct subsidies for farmers and trims $90 a month from food stamps for 850,000.

The House had already passed the nearly $1 trillion farm bill that will set agriculture policy for the next five years. President Obama has said he would sign it into law.

The bill could be passed before the spring planting season. That’s significant because farmers need to know early how it might affect prices and what to expect for their corn, wheat or tobacco yields.

The bill changes the current agricultural subsidy system that’s been in place 80 years.

For more:  http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/04/news/economy/food-stamps-farm-bill/index.html

 

Start-ups, organizations take on America’s food waste challenge

According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in America goes uneaten. A report from West Virginia on how new businesses have emerged to help kitchens reduce food waste while turning a profit.

For more:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/jan-june14/foodwaste_01-26.html

In wealthy Orange County, a campaign to waste less to help feed hungry kids

California’s Orange County is home to some of the wealthiest Americans, as well as more than 150,000 children who don’t know where their next meal will come from. This is a report on how the county is trying to address and combat the serious health effects of malnutrition for the OC’s neediest residents.

For more: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june14/hunger_01-24.html

“Hunger, obesity and stress – three things that go hand in hand for low income families”

“Studies suggest that hunger — even if it’s only experienced for brief periods during childhood and adolescence — can lead to outcomes that last a lifetime, including… obesity…When you look at dietary indicators, and what households are eating, we find that those who are food insecure are more likely to eat high calorie, dense foods — your chips, potatoes, processed meats — and much less fruits and vegetables. And it’s not hard to realize that it comes down to finances. Lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables are much more costly and perishable. It’s easier to stretch your food dollars much further if you have the inexpensive, high-calorie, dense foods.”

For more: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2014/01/why-stress-and-money-woes-may-lead-to-weight-gain.html

7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up will be held April 15-18, 2014 in Austin, TX. The Conference convenes a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement- more than 1,000 food service professionals, farmers, educators, youth leaders, policy makers, advocates, state/federal agency professionals, entrepreneurs, public health professionals and others- working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Cafeterias in schools, universities, prisons, hospitals and childcare centers serve more than 40 million Americans every day during the school year, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems.

For more information and registration: .http://farmtocafeteriaconference.org/7/

Strengthening SNAP for a More Food-Secure, Healthy America

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the fundamental safety-net program in the United States. Over its fifty-year history, it has effectively reduced hunger and buffered American families against economic downturns. This paper provides an overview of SNAP’s shortcomings, and a proposed detailed policy agenda to improve SNAP’s effectiveness.

The author proposes subsidizing healthy foods in order to encourage better nutrition among SNAP recipients and reforming eligibility and payment rules to enable SNAP to better fight hunger and support program beneficiaries.

For more:
http://www.hamiltonproject.org/files/downloads_and_links/THP_Schanzenbach_Brief_Final.pdf