Tag Archives: USDA

Chalmers Institute of Technology study: Organic food worse for the climate?

3 Jan

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) described organic production:
What is organic production?

USDA Definition and Regulations:
The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), enacted under Title 21 of the 1990 Farm Bill, served to establish uniform national standards for the production and handling of foods labeled as “organic.” The Act authorized a new USDA National Organic Program (NOP) to set national standards for the production, handling, and processing of organically grown agricultural products. In addition, the Program oversees mandatory certification of organic production. The Act also established the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) which advises the Secretary of Agriculture in setting the standards upon which the NOP is based. Producers who meet standards set by the NOP may label their products as “USDA Certified Organic.”
1. USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) definition, April 1995
o “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.
o “‘Organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.
o “Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water.
o “Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”
2. CFR Regulatory Text, 7 CFR Part 205, Subpart A — Definitions. § 205.2 Terms defined“Organic production. A production system that is managed in accordance with the Act and regulations in this part to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” USDA National Organic Program. http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=ac13bb030ee7a5c5ded65732f5c8946e&mc=true&node=se7.3.205_12&rgn=div8 (link is external)
3. USDA Consumer Brochure: Organic Food Standards and Labels: The Facts“What is organic food? Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.” Consumer Brochure, USDA National Organic Program. 2007.
The final national organic standards rule was published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2000. The law was activated April 21, 2001. The rule, along with detailed fact sheets and other background information, is available on the National Organic Program’s website…. https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/organic-productionorganic-food-information-access-tools

Jo Lewin, Associate nutritionist at BBC Good Food described some of the benefits organic food.

Lewin wrote in What does organic mean?

What the research says
With many people believing that organic foods have a higher nutrient content, are kinder to the environment and livestock and are healthier than conventionally produced foods, demand for organic produce is on the rise. However, scientists have not been wholly convinced that health claims are completely justified, as the research conducted has not shown consistent results with regards to nutrient density.
In 2009, a report published by the Food Standards Agency summarised the findings of previous studies on the comparative nutritional benefits of organic and conventional produce. It concluded that organic did not deliver significant health benefits compared to non-organic equivalents.
However, there is plenty of evidence that there are more vitamins, minerals and omega-3s in organic produce – albeit sometimes just a small difference. A systematic review showed higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants in some (though not all) organic fruit and vegetables as well as lower levels of pesticide residues and heavy metals…. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/organic

Organic production may come at a cost according to a study by Sweden’s Chalmers Institute of Technology.

Science Daily reported in Organic food worse for the climate?

Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature.
The researchers developed a new method for assessing the climate impact from land-use, and used this, along with other methods, to compare organic and conventional food production. The results show that organic food can result in much greater emissions.
“Our study shows that organic peas, farmed in Sweden, have around a 50 percent bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed peas. For some foodstuffs, there is an even bigger difference — for example, with organic Swedish winter wheat the difference is closer to 70 percent,” says Stefan Wirsenius, an associate professor from Chalmers, and one of those responsible for the study.
The reason why organic food is so much worse for the climate is that the yields per hectare are much lower, primarily because fertilisers are not used. To produce the same amount of organic food, you therefore need a much bigger area of land.
The ground-breaking aspect of the new study is the conclusion that this difference in land usage results in organic food causing a much larger climate impact.
“The greater land-use in organic farming leads indirectly to higher carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to deforestation,” explains Stefan Wirsenius. “The world’s food production is governed by international trade, so how we farm in Sweden influences deforestation in the tropics. If we use more land for the same amount of food, we contribute indirectly to bigger deforestation elsewhere in the world.”
Even organic meat and dairy products are — from a climate point of view — worse than their conventionally produced equivalents, claims Stefan Wirsenius.
“Because organic meat and milk production uses organic feed-stock, it also requires more land than conventional production. This means that the findings on organic wheat and peas in principle also apply to meat and milk products. We have not done any specific calculations on meat and milk, however, and have no concrete examples of this in the article,” he explains.
A new metric: Carbon Opportunity Cost
The researchers used a new metric, which they call “Carbon Opportunity Cost,” to evaluate the effect of greater land-use contributing to higher carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This metric takes into account the amount of carbon that is stored in forests, and thus released as carbon dioxide as an effect of deforestation. The study is among the first in the world to make use of this metric…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181213101308.htm

Citation:

Organic food worse for the climate?
Date: December 13, 2018
Source: Chalmers University of Technology
Summary:
Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required, a new study finds.
Journal Reference:
Timothy D. Searchinger, Stefan Wirsenius, Tim Beringer, Patrice Dumas. Assessing the efficiency of changes in land use for mitigating climate change. Nature, 2018; 564 (7735): 249 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0757-z

Here is the press release from Chalmers Institute of Technology:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 13-DEC-2018
Organic food worse for the climate
Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study, published in the journal Nature
CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
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Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature.
The researchers developed a new method for assessing the climate impact from land-use, and used this, along with other methods, to compare organic and conventional food production. The results show that organic food can result in much greater emissions.
“Our study shows that organic peas, farmed in Sweden, have around a 50 percent bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed peas. For some foodstuffs, there is an even bigger difference – for example, with organic Swedish winter wheat the difference is closer to 70 percent,” says Stefan Wirsenius, an associate professor from Chalmers, and one of those responsible for the study.
The reason why organic food is so much worse for the climate is that the yields per hectare are much lower, primarily because fertilisers are not used. To produce the same amount of organic food, you therefore need a much bigger area of land.
The ground-breaking aspect of the new study is the conclusion that this difference in land usage results in organic food causing a much larger climate impact.
“The greater land-use in organic farming leads indirectly to higher carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to deforestation,” explains Stefan Wirsenius. “The world’s food production is governed by international trade, so how we farm in Sweden influences deforestation in the tropics. If we use more land for the same amount of food, we contribute indirectly to bigger deforestation elsewhere in the world.”
Even organic meat and dairy products are – from a climate point of view – worse than their conventionally produced equivalents, claims Stefan Wirsenius.
“Because organic meat and milk production uses organic feed-stock, it also requires more land than conventional production. This means that the findings on organic wheat and peas in principle also apply to meat and milk products. We have not done any specific calculations on meat and milk, however, and have no concrete examples of this in the article,” he explains.
A new metric: Carbon Opportunity Cost
The researchers used a new metric, which they call “Carbon Opportunity Cost”, to evaluate the effect of greater land-use contributing to higher carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This metric takes into account the amount of carbon that is stored in forests, and thus released as carbon dioxide as an effect of deforestation. The study is among the first in the world to make use of this metric.
“The fact that more land use leads to greater climate impact has not often been taken into account in earlier comparisons between organic and conventional food,” says Stefan Wirsenius. “This is a big oversight, because, as our study shows, this effect can be many times bigger than the greenhouse gas effects, which are normally included. It is also serious because today in Sweden, we have politicians whose goal is to increase production of organic food. If that goal is implemented, the climate influence from Swedish food production will probably increase a lot.”
So why have earlier studies not taken into account land-use and its relationship to carbon dioxide emissions?
“There are surely many reasons. An important explanation, I think, is simply an earlier lack of good, easily applicable methods for measuring the effect. Our new method of measurement allows us to make broad environmental comparisons, with relative ease,” says Stefan Wirsenius.
The results of the study are published in the article “Assessing the efficiency of changes in land use for mitigating climate change” in the journal Nature. The article is written by Timothy Searchinger, Princeton University, Stefan Wirsenius, Chalmers University of Technology, Tim Beringer, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and Patrice Dumas, Cired.
More on: The consumer perspective
Stefan Wirsenius notes that the findings do not mean that conscientious consumers should simply switch to buying non-organic food. “The type of food is often much more important. For example, eating organic beans or organic chicken is much better for the climate than to eat conventionally produced beef,” he says. “Organic food does have several advantages compared with food produced by conventional methods,” he continues. “For example, it is better for farm animal welfare. But when it comes to the climate impact, our study shows that organic food is a much worse alternative, in general.”
For consumers who want to contribute to the positive aspects of organic food production, without increasing their climate impact, an effective way is to focus instead on the different impacts of different types of meat and vegetables in our diet. Replacing beef and lamb, as well as hard cheeses, with vegetable proteins such as beans, has the biggest effect. Pork, chicken, fish and eggs also have a substantially lower climate impact than beef and lamb.
See also earlier press release from 24 February 2016: Better technology could take agriculture halfway towards climate targets https://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/chalmers/pressreleases/better-technology-could-take-agriculture-halfway-towards-climate-targets-1325077
More on: The conflict between different environmental goals
In organic farming, no fertilisers are used. The goal is to use resources like energy, land and water in a long-term, sustainable way. Crops are primarily nurtured through nutrients present in the soil. The main aims are greater biological diversity and a balance between animal and plant sustainability. Only naturally derived pesticides are used.
The arguments for organic food focus on consumers’ health, animal welfare, and different aspects of environmental policy. There is good justification for these arguments, but at the same time, there is a lack of scientific evidence to show that organic food is in general healthier and more environmentally friendly than conventionally farmed food, according to the National Food Administration of Sweden and others. The variation between farms is big, with the interpretation differing depending on what environmental goals one prioritises. At the same time, current analysis methods are unable to fully capture all aspects.
The authors of the study now claim that organically farmed food is worse for the climate, due to bigger land use. For this argument they use statistics from the Swedish Board of Agriculture on the total production in Sweden, and the yields per hectare for organic versus conventional farming for the years 2013-2015.
Source (in Swedish): https://www.jordbruksverket.se/webdav/files/SJV/Amnesomraden/Statistik,%20fakta/Vegetabilieproduktion/JO14/JO14SM1801/JO14SM1801_ikortadrag.htm

HRF lists the pros and cons of organic farming:

Here Are the Pros of Organic Farming
Many people don’t actually realize that organic farming is just as much about the soil that is used to grow crops and livestock as it is about the final result that is on their dinner table. Organic methods help to keep soil nutrient-rich, allowing for continued cycles of land productivity. This is achieved through crop rotation, natural fertilization methods, and chemical-free care.
Because there are no chemicals used in the process of organic farming, the nutritional content of the foods being produced are often higher. The micro-nutrients that the combination of rich soil and a lack of chemicals provides can lead to a much better standard of health. This is because chemicals often caused produce to mature faster, thereby eliminating many of the nutrients that the natural ripening process would create.
Here Are the Cons of Organic Farming
The primary reason why people choose not to consume organic foods is the cost. Organic foods are often 20% higher in cost, if not more, and many families simply cannot afford that additional burden. The reason why costs are higher is because organic foods create a lower overall ratio of production. Most organic products are not as resistant to heat or a lack of water, meaning that a bad season will create a very low yield.
Organic foods are also not always available because they are grown in season instead of through artificial methods. Though this issue is reduced thanks to the current global transportation network of food products, some foods simply aren’t available except for a specific time during the season. This lack of demand causes people to then sometimes abandon that type of food for something else they love that is available year-round…. https://healthresearchfunding.org/organic-farming-pros-cons/

The key question regarding organic production is whether it is sustainable.

Nancy Bazilchuk wrote in the Science Nordic article, How sustainable is organic food?
Organic food is romanticized

Arne Grønlund, senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), believes that the romantic view of organic food production as something natural is simply wrong.
“This perception gives the consumer a false impression. Organic food production appears to be natural, and consumers see as positive,” he says. “But what the consumer doesn’t think about is that agriculture is in no way natural. Food produced using agricultural means is not produced in harmony with nature, whether it is grown by organic or conventional methods….” http://sciencenordic.com/how-sustainable-organic-food

Whether policymakers move from the romantic to reality remains a question.

Resources:

Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880

Organic Foods: What You Need to Know: The Benefits and Basics of Organic Food and How to Keep It Affordable                                               https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm

How College Students Are Being Misled About ‘Sustainable’ Agriculture https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/05/organic-farming-not-sustainable/

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Harvard study: kids are eating the healthier lunches

24 Mar

Moi wrote in School lunches: The political hot potato:
There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program http://www.educationbug.org/a/the-history-of-the-school-lunch-program.html

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture Department) has a School Lunch Program Fact Sheet http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf
According to the fact sheet, more than 30 million children are fed by the program. Physicians for Responsible Medicine criticize the content of school lunch programs

In Healthy School Lunches the physicians group says:

Menus in most school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (see PCRM’s 2008 School Lunch Report Card). Major changes are needed to encourage the health of the nation’s youth and to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children and teens. http://www.pcrm.org/health/healthy-school-lunches/changes/key-changes-recommended-for-the-national-school

A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) reached the same conclusion. See, School Lunch Program: Efforts Needed to Improve Nutrition and Encourage and Healthy Eating http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-506 https://drwilda.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

Science Daily reported in the article, New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption:

New federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. The study, the first to examine school food consumption both before and after the standards went into effect, contradicts criticisms that the new standards have increased food waste.
“There is a push from some organizations and lawmakers to weaken the new standards. We hope the findings, which show that students are consuming more fruits and vegetables, will discourage those efforts,” said lead author Juliana Cohen, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.
Some 32 million students eat school meals every day; for many low-income students, up to half their daily energy intake is from school meals. Under the previous dietary guidelines, school breakfasts and lunches were high in sodium and saturated fats and were low in whole grains and fiber. The new standards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) aimed to improve the nutritional quality of school meals by making whole grains, fruits, and vegetables more available, requiring the selection of a fruit or vegetable, increasing the portion sizes of fruits and vegetables, removing trans fats, and placing limits on total calories and sodium levels.
The researchers collected plate waste data among 1,030 students in four schools in an urban, low-income school district both before (fall 2011) and after (fall 2012) the new standards went into effect. Following the implementation of the new standards, fruit selection increased by 23.0%; entrée and vegetable selection remained unchanged. In addition, consumption of vegetables increased by 16.2%; fruit consumption was unchanged, but because more students selected fruit, overall, more fruit was consumed post-implementation.
Importantly, the new standards did not result in increased food waste, contradicting anecdotal reports from food service directors, teachers, parents, and students that the regulations were causing an increase in waste due to both larger portion sizes and the requirement that students select a fruit or vegetable. However, high levels of fruit and vegetable waste continued to be a problem — students discarded roughly 60%-75% of vegetables and 40% of fruits on their trays. The authors say that schools must focus on improving food quality and palatability to reduce waste…..
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304071040.htm

Citation:

New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption
Date: March 4, 2014
Source: Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
New federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study. The study, the first to examine school food consumption both before and after the standards went into effect, contradicts criticisms that the new standards have increased food waste. “There is a push from some organizations and lawmakers to weaken the new standards. We hope the findings, which show that students are consuming more fruits and vegetables, will discourage those efforts,” said the lead author.
Journal Reference:
1. Juliana F.W. Cohen, Scott Richardson, Ellen Parker, Paul J. Catalano, Eric B. Rimm. Impact of the New U.S. Department of Agriculture School Meal Standards on Food Selection, Consumption, and Waste. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.11.013

Here is the press release from Harvard:

New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption
For immediate release: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Boston, MA — New federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. The study, the first to examine school food consumption both before and after the standards went into effect, contradicts criticisms that the new standards have increased food waste.
“There is a push from some organizations and lawmakers to weaken the new standards. We hope the findings, which show that students are consuming more fruits and vegetables, will discourage those efforts,” said lead author Juliana Cohen, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.
Some 32 million students eat school meals every day; for many low-income students, up to half their daily energy intake is from school meals. Under the previous dietary guidelines, school breakfasts and lunches were high in sodium and saturated fats and were low in whole grains and fiber. The new standards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) aimed to improve the nutritional quality of school meals by making whole grains, fruits, and vegetables more available, requiring the selection of a fruit or vegetable, increasing the portion sizes of fruits and vegetables, removing trans fats, and placing limits on total calories and sodium levels.
The researchers collected plate waste data among 1,030 students in four schools in an urban, low-income school district both before (fall 2011) and after (fall 2012) the new standards went into effect. Following the implementation of the new standards, fruit selection increased by 23.0%; entrée and vegetable selection remained unchanged. In addition, consumption of vegetables increased by 16.2%; fruit consumption was unchanged, but because more students selected fruit, overall, more fruit was consumed post-implementation.
Importantly, the new standards did not result in increased food waste, contradicting anecdotal reports from food service directors, teachers, parents, and students that the regulations were causing an increase in waste due to both larger portion sizes and the requirement that students select a fruit or vegetable. However, high levels of fruit and vegetable waste continued to be a problem—students discarded roughly 60%-75% of vegetables and 40% of fruits on their trays. The authors say that schools must focus on improving food quality and palatability to reduce waste.
“The new school meal standards are the strongest implemented by the USDA to date, and the improved dietary intakes will likely have important health implications for children,” wrote the researchers.
Other HSPH authors included Eric Rimm, senior author and associate professor in the departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, and Paul Catalano, senior lecturer on biostatistics.
Support was provided by Arbella Insurance and Project Bread. Cohen is supported by the Nutritional Epidemiology of Cancer Education and Career Development Program (R25 CA 098566).
“Impact of the New U.S. Department of Agriculture School Meal Standards on Food Selection, Consumption, and Waste,” Juliana F.W. Cohen, Scott Richardson, Ellen Parker, Paul J. Catalano, Eric B. Rimm, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(4):388-394, online March 4, 2014
For more information:
Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617.432.8413
photo: © XiXinXing/Alamy
###
About Harvard School of Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory and the classroom to people’s lives—not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at HSPH teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America’s oldest professional training program in public health.

The challenge is getting kids to eat the food mandated by the rules and for school districts to find “kid tasty” foods which are affordable. A Child’s health is too important to be the subject of tawdry political wrangling and high pressure tactics from big money interests. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

USDA changes school lunch requirements
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/271813-usda-changes-school-lunch-requirements

USDA backpedals on healthy school-lunch rules
http://grist.org/news/usda-backpedals-on-healthy-school-lunch-rules/

National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

Related:
School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potato
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch?
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/28/do-kids-get-enough-time-to-eat-lunch/

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U.S. Department of Agriculture ‘School Wellness’ guidelines

1 Mar

Moi has been following the school vending machine issue for a while. In Government is trying to control the vending machine choices of children, moi wrote:
The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. Ron Nixon reports in the New York Times article, New Guidelines Planned on School Vending Machines about the attempt to legislate healthier eating habits. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/us/politics/new-rules-planned-on-school-vending-machines.html?_r=1&hpw
There are studies about the effect of vending machine snacking and childhood obesity.

Katy Waldman wrote the Slate article, Do Vending Machines Affect Student Obesity?

Despite all the recent handwringing (even pearl clutching) over junk food in schools, a study out this month in the quarterly Sociology of Education found no link between student obesity rates and the school-wide sale of candy, chips, or sugary soda. The finding undermines efforts by policy makers to trim kids’ waistlines by banning snacks from the classroom. And it must taste odd to the many doctors and scientists who see vending machines as accessories in the childhood obesity epidemic.
The study followed 19,450 fifth graders of both sexes for four years. At the beginning, 59 percent of the students went to schools that sold “competitive foods”—that is, non-cafeteria fare not reimbursable through federal meal programs. CFs tend to have higher sugar or fat content and lower nutritional value (think the indulgences at the top of the food pyramid, like Coke and Oreos). By the time the students reached eighth grade, 86 percent of them attended schools that sold competitive foods. The researchers, led by Pennsylvania State University’s Jennifer Van Hook, then compared body mass indexes from the 19,450 students, including those who’d spent all four years in junk food-free environments, those who’d left such schools for vending machine-friendly ones, those who’d transferred from vending machine-friendly schools to junk food-free schools, and those who enjoyed access to vending machines for all four years. Regardless of which data sets they contrasted, the researchers were unable to find any sort of connection between obesity and the availability of “unhealthy” snacks in school. In other words, children who could theoretically grab a Snickers bar after class every day for four years were, on average, no heavier than those who couldn’t.
While Van Hook speculated to the New York Times that the findings reflect our tendency to “establish food preferences… early in life,” she also noted in her paper that middle schoolers’ regimented schedules could prevent them from doing much unsupervised eating. (I guess that means that the students didn’t have time to utilize the junk food options they had, which is an issue for another day). In any case, the takeaway is clear. You can’t solve childhood obesity by outlawing vending machines. The obesity epidemic (if it is one) depends on a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Maybe a full-court press of school regulations plus zoning laws that encourage supermarkets to come to poor neighborhoods plus government subsidies for fruits and veggies plus crackdowns on fast food advertising plus fifty other adjustments would begin to make a dent in the problem. (Maybe a saner cultural attitude towards food, weight, and looks in general would also help). http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/01/24/junk_food_in_school_do_vending_machines_make_kids_fat_.html

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/government-is-trying-to-control-the-vending-machine-choices-of-children/
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been studying the issue of snacks in schools.

Maria Godoy of NPR reported in the article, New Rules Would Curb How Kids Are Sold Junk Food At School:

If you want to teach kids to adopt healthier eating habits, it’s probably unwise to give them coupons for fast food chains at school.
And those advertisements for sugary sodas on the gymnasium scoreboard? Seems like another mixed message schools are sending kids.
That’s why the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed new school wellness guidelines Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the widespread marketing of less-than-nutritious foods to kids on campus during the school day. Even though 90 percent of school districts are now meeting the overhauled nutrition standards for school lunches, students are still being flooded with advertising for junk food in schools, according to first lady Michelle Obama.
“The idea here is simple: Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food,” said Obama, who joined USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce the guidelines. “Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school,” she added in a statement….
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of elementary-school kids receive coupons for fast food at school through programs such as Pizza Hut’s Book It! Program, which uses pizza as a reading incentive, according to a study published last month in JAMA Pediatrics.
The proposed rules would limit such exposure by allowing only ads and marketing in schools for foods that meet the Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition guidelines. Those standards, which are set to go in effect in the 2014-2015 school year, stem from the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. They aim to boost the healthfulness of foods sold through vending machines, snack bars and a la carte in cafeterias.
Under the stricter guidelines, vending machines branded with images of Coke or Pepsi’s sugar-sweetened sodas would no longer be allowed in schools. Same goes for branding for sugary drinks and snacks on posters and cups.
The snack rules set limits for how much fat, sugar and sodium snacks can contain. But they only apply during the school day. So foods sold at after-school games, for instance, are exempt.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/25/282507974/new-rules-would-curb-how-kids-are-sold-junk-food-at-school?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=
https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2014-04100.pdf

Here is the press release from the USDA:

Team Nutrition
Local School Wellness Policy
Last Modified: 02/27/2014
Each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal Child Nutrition programs is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction.
Local wellness policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies (LEAs) and school districts in promoting student wellness, preventing and reducing childhood obesity, and providing assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum federal school meal standards.
Wellness Policy – Helpful Links
Proposed Rule
http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/local-school-wellness-policy

Requirements http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-school-wellness-policy-requirements

Technical Assistance
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-school-wellness-policy-workgroup-and-guidance

Local Process http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-process-how-develop-implement-and-evaluate-wellness-policy

Tools & Resources http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/implementation-tools-and-resources
Monitoring http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/local-school-wellness-policy-administrative-review-process

Funding a Wellness Policy
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/funding-local-school-wellness-policy

Background
Congress recognizes that schools play a critical role in promoting student health, preventing childhood obesity, and combating problems associated with poor nutrition and physical inactivity. In 2004, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act (Sec. 204 of Public Law 108-205). This act required by law that all LEAs participating in the National School Lunch Program or other child nutrition programs create local school wellness policies by School Year 2006. The legislation places the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each LEA can be addressed.
In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Sec. 204 of Public Law 111-296), and added new provisions for local school wellness policies related to implementation, evaluation, and publicly reporting on progress of local school wellness policies.
On February 26, the proposed rule for wellness policies was published in the Federal Register. Read more about it and comment before the public comment period closes on April 28, 2014.
Implementation Timeline
 As of School Year 2006-2007, all districts were required to establish a local school wellness policy.
 For School Year 2013-2014, LEAs are encouraged to continue reviewing and assessing their local wellness policies and implementing the new requirements. State agencies will be selecting between two options for the Administrative Review, and LEAs will be held accountable for local school wellness policy implementation, assessment, and public updates.
This portion of our site will continue to be updated to reflect the requirements of the 2010 law.

The issue of childhood obesity is complicated and there are probably many factors. If a child’s family does not model healthy eating habits, it probably will be difficult to change the food preferences of the child. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

University of Illinois Chicago study: Laws reducing availability of snacks are decreasing childhood obesity https://drwilda.com/2012/08/13/university-of-illinois-chicago-study-laws-reducing-availability-of-snacks-are-decreasing-childhood-obesity/

New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/

Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Brigham Young University study: Paying kids gets them to eat vegetables

21 Dec

Moi wrote in School lunches: The political hot potato:
There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program http://www.educationbug.org/a/the-history-of-the-school-lunch-program.html

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture Department) has a School Lunch Program Fact Sheet http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

According to the fact sheet, more than 30 million children are fed by the program. Physicians for Responsible Medicine criticize the content of school lunch programs
In Healthy School Lunches the physicians group says:

Menus in most school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (see PCRM’s 2008 School Lunch Report Card). Major changes are needed to encourage the health of the nation’s youth and to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children and teens. http://www.pcrm.org/health/healthy-school-lunches/changes/key-changes-recommended-for-the-national-school

A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) reached the same conclusion. See, School Lunch Program: Efforts Needed to Improve Nutrition and Encourage and Healthy Eating http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-506 https://drwilda.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

Science Daily reported in the article, Study: Pay Kids to Eat Fruits, Vegetables:

The good news: Research suggests that a new federal rule has prompted the nation’s schools to serve an extra $5.4 million worth of fruits and vegetables each day.
The bad news: The nation’s children throw about $3.8 million of that in the garbage each day.
Researchers from Brigham Young University and Cornell observed three schools adjust to new school lunch standards that require a serving of fruits or vegetables on every student’s tray — whether the child intends to eat it or not. As they report in the December issue of Public Health Nutrition, students discarded 70 percent of the extra fruits and vegetables.
“We saw a minor increase in kids eating the items, but there are other ways to achieve the same goal that are much, much cheaper,” said BYU economics professor Joe Price.
Strange as it sounds, directly paying students to eat a fruit or vegetable is less expensive and gets better results.
With Cornell’s David Just, Price conducted a second study to measure the effect of small rewards in the lunchroom. The week-long experiments took on different twists in the 15 different schools — some could earn a nickel, others a quarter, and others a raffle ticket for a larger prize. But the results were generally the same. As the scholars report in The Journal of Human Resources, offering small rewards increased the fruit and vegetable consumption by 80 percent. And the amount of wasted food declined by 33 percent.
Which begs the question: Is benevolent bribery a better way?
“Parents are often misguided about incentives,” Price said. “We feel a sense of dirtiness about a bribe. But rewards can be really powerful if the activity creates a new skill or changes preferences.”
The case against using bribes in parenting is perhaps best articulated in Alfie Kohn’s 1999 book “Punished by Rewards.” In many scenarios, the use of rewards can crush internal motivation. With healthy eating, for example, some fear that prizes will prevent children from developing their own motivation to eat things that are good for them. Another danger, known as a boomerang effect, is the possibility that some children would eat less fruits and vegetables when the rewards disappeared.
That’s why Price and Just measured fruit and vegetable consumption before and after the week-long experiments. When the week of prizes ended, students went back to the same level of fruit and vegetable consumption as before — no lasting improvement, but no boomerang effect either.
Now the researchers are studying whether extending the experiments over three to five weeks might yield lasting change. So far things look promising….
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217104601.htm#.UrPzdFGb0KY.email

Citation:

Journal References:
1.David Just, Joseph Price. Using Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children. The Journal of Human Resources, December 2013
2.David Just, Joseph Price. Default options, incentives and food choices: evidence from elementary-school children. Public Health Nutrition, 2013; 16 (12): 2281 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980013001468
Brigham Young University (2013, December 17). Study: Pay kids to eat fruits, vegetables. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2013,

Here is the press release from Brigham Young University:

News Release
Study: Pay kids to eat fruits & veggies with school lunch
Small rewards bring less waste, better results than new school lunch rule
The Washington Post
Slate
The Salt Lake Tribune
Fox News
Yahoo News
Huffington Post
The good news: Research suggests that a new federal rule has prompted the nation’s schools to serve an extra $5.4 million worth of fruits and vegetables each day.
The bad news: The nation’s children throw about $3.8 million of that in the garbage each day.
Researchers from Brigham Young University and Cornell observed three schools adjust to new school lunch standards that require a serving of fruits or vegetables on every student’s tray – whether the child intends to eat it or not. As they report in the December issue of Public Health Nutrition, students discarded 70 percent of the extra fruits and vegetables.
“We saw a minor increase in kids eating the items, but there are other ways to achieve the same goal that are much, much cheaper,” said BYU economics professor Joe Price.
Strange as it sounds, directly paying students to eat a fruit or vegetable is less expensive and gets better results.
With Cornell’s David Just, Price conducted a second study to measure the effect of small rewards in the lunchroom. The week-long experiments took on different twists in the 15 different schools – some could earn a nickel, others a quarter, and others a raffle ticket for a larger prize. But the results were generally the same. As the scholars report in The Journal of Human Resources, offering small rewards increased the fruit and vegetable consumption by 80 percent. And the amount of wasted food declined by 33 percent.
Which begs the question: Is benevolent bribery a better way?
“Parents are often misguided about incentives,” Price said. “We feel a sense of dirtiness about a bribe. But rewards can be really powerful if the activity creates a new skill or changes preferences.”
The case against using bribes in parenting is perhaps best articulated in Alfie Kohn’s 1999 book “Punished by Rewards.” In many scenarios, the use of rewards can crush internal motivation. With healthy eating, for example, some fear that prizes will prevent children from developing their own motivation to eat things that are good for them. Another danger, known as a boomerang effect, is the possibility that some children would eat less fruits and vegetables when the rewards disappeared.
That’s why Price and Just measured fruit and vegetable consumption before and after the week-long experiments. When the week of prizes ended, students went back to the same level of fruit and vegetable consumption as before – no lasting improvement, but no boomerang effect either.
Now the researchers are studying whether extending the experiments over three to five weeks might yield lasting change. So far things look promising.
“I don’t think we should give incentives such a bad rap,” Price said. “They should be considered part of a set of tools we can use.”
The first study documenting the impact of the new rule appears in the December 2013 issue of Public Health Nutrition. The second study is titled “Using Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children” and is available to subscribers of The Journal of Human Resources. An earlier version of the paper is available at Price’s website.
Related Stories
Birth order study: It’s about time
BYU study says exercise may reduce motivation for food
Story Highlights
•A new federal rule requires a serving of fruits or vegetables on every tray
•70 percent is thrown away, wasting an estimated $3.8 million daily
•Offering a small reward doubles fruit and vegetable consumption without the waste
http://news.byu.edu/archive13-dec-veggies.aspx

The challenge is getting kids to eat the food mandated by the rules and for school districts to find “kid tasty” foods which are affordable. A Child’s health is too important to be the subject of tawdry political wrangling and high pressure tactics from big money interests. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

USDA changes school lunch requirements http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/271813-usda-changes-school-lunch-requirements

USDA backpedals on healthy school-lunch rules http://grist.org/news/usda-backpedals-on-healthy-school-lunch-rules/

National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet
http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

Related:

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potato https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch? https://drwilda.com/2012/08/28/do-kids-get-enough-time-to-eat-lunch/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Some school lunch programs opting out of school lunch program

29 Aug

Moi wrote in School lunches: The political hot potato:
There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program http://www.educationbug.org/a/the-history-of-the-school-lunch-program.html

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture Department) has a School Lunch Program Fact Sheet http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

According to the fact sheet, more than 30 million children are fed by the program. Physicians for Responsible Medicine criticize the content of school lunch programs

In Healthy School Lunches the physicians group says:

Menus in most school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (see PCRM’s 2008 School Lunch Report Card). Major changes are needed to encourage the health of the nation’s youth and to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children and teens. http://www.pcrm.org/health/healthy-school-lunches/changes/key-changes-recommended-for-the-national-school

A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) reached the same conclusion. See, School Lunch Program: Efforts Needed to Improve Nutrition and Encourage and Healthy Eating http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-506 https://drwilda.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

Several news outlets are reporting that some schools are opting out of the school lunch program. See, Michelle Obama-touted federal healthy lunch program leaves bad taste in some school districts’ mouths http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57600385/michelle-obama-touted-federal-healthy-lunch-program-leaves-bad-taste-in-some-school-districts-mouths/ Some School Districts Quit Healthier Lunch Program http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/27/schools-quit-healthy-lunch_n_3825808.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

The Food Action Research Center summarizes the Highlights: Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Here is a portion of the summary:

Highlights: Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010
Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010
What’s in the bill:
The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act takes several steps forward to ensure that low-income children can participate in child nutrition programs and receive the meals they need, including:
• Expanding the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states;
• Supporting improvements to direct certification for school meals and other strategies to reduce red tape in helping children obtain school meals;
• Allowing state WIC agencies the option to certify children for up to one year;
• Mandating WIC electronic benefit transfer (EBT) implementation nationwide by October 1, 2020;
• Improving area eligibility rules so more family child care homes can use the CACFP program;
• Enhancing the nutritional quality of food served in school-based and preschool settings; and
• Making “competitive foods” offered or sold in schools more nutritious.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILL
Out-of-School Time Provisions
• Expands the Afterschool Meal Program (through the Child and Adult Care Food Program) to all states. The program currently is available in only 13 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia.
• Requires school food authorities to coordinate with Summer Food sponsors on developing and distributing Summer Food outreach materials.
• Eliminates the requirement that private nonprofit Summer Food sponsors serve no more than 25 sites with no more 300 children at any of the sites unless the sponsor receives a waiver.
• Extends the California year-round Summer Food pilot until 2015 (the length of the reauthorization).
• Authorizes $20 million dollars for Summer Food Support grants for sponsors to establish and maintain programs
________________________________________
School Nutrition Program Provisions
Download the in-depth School Nutrition Program Provisions summary (pdf).
Supports new paperless options for universal meal service.
• Creates a new option that will allow schools in high-poverty areas to offer free meals to all students without collecting paper applications, which will expand access to more children and reduce administrative burdens on schools. The reimbursement levels will be based on the level of direct certification in each school building.
• Establishes a demonstration project to use census data to determine eligibility rates in school districts with high concentrations of low-income children.
• Establishes a three-year demonstration project in up to three school districts to use community survey data to establish eligibility rates in schools instead of paper applications.
Improves direct certification.
• Eliminates the “letter method,” which requires families to return a letter to the school to establish eligibility.
• Establishes a demonstration project to test and implement the use of Medicaid for direct certification.
• Sets performance benchmarks for direct certification and provides incentive bonuses to states that show improvement.
• Makes foster children automatically eligible for free meals, eliminating the need to complete paper applications for school meal benefits.
Enhances school nutrition quality.
• Adds a six cent performance-based increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches (six cents per meal) for schools that meet forthcoming updated nutrition standards for breakfast and lunch.
• Gives the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to establish national nutrition standards for all foods sold on the school campus throughout the school day.
• Directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop model product specifications for USDA commodity foods used in school meals.
• Provides $5 million annually in mandatory funding for farm-to-school programs starting October 1, 2012.
• Strengthens Local School Wellness Policies by updating the requirements of the policies, and requiring opportunities for public input, transparency, and an implementation plan.
• Allows only lower-fat milk options to be served, as recommended in the Dietary Guidelines.
• Ensures that water is available free of charge during the meal service.
Authorizes grants for expansion of School Breakfast Programs
• Subject to available appropriations, grants could be used to establish or expand school breakfast programs, with priority going to schools with 75 percent free and reduced-price eligible students.
Includes new school food financing provisions.
• Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to provide guidance on allowable charges to school food service accounts to prevent inappropriate school expenses that are not related to the school meal programs from draining school meal resources.
• Requires a review of local policies on meal charges and the provision of alternate meals (i.e. cold cheese sandwich) to children who are without funds to purchase a meal.
Requires school districts to gradually increase their “paid” lunch charges until the revenue per lunch matches the federal free reimbursement level. This is a significant change in public policy which likely will result in decreased participation, especially among children whose household income is between 186 and 250 percent of poverty. If these families and higher-income families stop participating in the program it will create the perception that the program is only for “poor” children, causing more children to drop out. Decreases in student participation could cause schools to stop participating in the school meal programs all together. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Provisions
Download the in-depth CACFP summary (pdf).
Promotes good nutrition, health and wellness in child care.
• Revises the nutrition standards for meals, snacks and beverages served through CACFP to make them consistent with the most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
• Provides education and encouragement to participating child care centers and homes to provide children with healthy meals and snacks and daily opportunities for physical activity, and to limit screen time.
• Increases USDA training, technical assistance and educational materials available to child care providers, helping them to serve healthier food.
• Authorizes ongoing research on nutrition, health and wellness practices, as well as the barriers and facilitators to CACFP participation, in child care settings.
• Requires interagency coordination focused on strengthening the role of child care licensing in supporting good nutrition, health and wellness and maximizing the value of CACFP.
• Provides $10 million in funding to USDA for training, technical assistance and materials development.
Expands eligibility, reduces paperwork and simplifies program requirements.
• Expands eligibility by allowing the use of high school and middle school free and reduced-priced school lunch participation levels to determine Tier 1 area eligibility for family child care homes.
• Eliminates the block claim requirement completely.
• Allows providers to facilitate the return of participating children’s family income forms.
• Allows permanent operating agreements and renewable applications.
• Continues the USDA working group to reduce paperwork and improve program administration and requires USDA to report the results to Congress.
• Establishes a simplified method of determining sponsor monthly administrative funding by requiring only the number of homes multiplied by the administrative reimbursement rates calculation to determine the sponsors’ administrative reimbursements.
• Permits sponsoring organizations to carry over a maximum of 10 percent of administrative funds into the following fiscal year, which will allow sponsors more flexibility to use their funds effectively from one fiscal year to the next.
• Allows state WIC agencies to permit local WIC agencies to share WIC nutrition education materials with CACFP institutions at no cost if a written materials sharing agreement exists between the relevant agencies.
Enhances audit funds and provides protections for states and institutions.
• Allows USDA to increase the state audit funds made available to any state agency from 1.5 percent to up to a total of two percent if the state agency demonstrates that it can effectively use the funds to improve program management.
• Requires the federal-state agreement to make clear the expectation that the federal funds provided to operate the Child Nutrition Programs be fully utilized for that purpose and that such funds should be excluded from state budget restrictions or limitations, including hiring freezes, work furloughs and travel restrictions…. http://frac.org/highlights-healthy-hunger-free-kids-act-of-2010/

Of course, there are pros and cons of any legislation.

Bonnie Taub-Dix MA, RD, CDN, summarizes the issues in Hungry Vs. Healthy: The School Lunch Controversy :

The background: The new regulations released in August, which were championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity, trimmed down the carbs and gave them a little color by emphasizing whole grains instead of white flour. Fruits and veggies were placed in a leading role supported by a cast of protein foods like chicken, lean meat, cheese, and so on. The calories of school lunch meals have not changed appreciably, with previous guidelines for children in grades 7 through 12 weighing in at 825 calories and the newest regs ranging from 750 to 850 calories for the same age group. What has changed significantly, however, is what’s being served.
As hard as it might be to believe, one in three American children is overweight or obese and at risk for diabetes, meaning that so many children are overfed, yet undernourished. Previous school meal standards were developed 15 years ago and didn’t meet nutritional guidelines recently established by independent health and nutrition experts. Under the watch of the Institute of Medicine and passed in December, 2010, by a bi-partisan majority in Congress, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, was enacted to provide nutritious meals to all children across America.
The Gripe: Not everyone is happy about these healthy school-lunch makeovers, as evidenced by the YouTube video. Some hungry students and teachers are claiming that they aren’t being served the calories they need—and that to compensate, they’re resorting to junk food to fill up. (Ironically, that’s a recipe for hunger: Unlike nutritious food, junk is only temporarily satisfying.) Adding more calories doesn’t mean adding more nutritional value. For some, overeating could lead to feeling listless and weak.
There are, however, kids who need more food than is being served, particularly those who participate in sports and after-school programs. For these kids, schools can structure after-school snack and supper programs. Individual students and/or sports teams can also supplement with healthy snacks brought from home. Schools also have the option to give students who need additional calories seconds of low-fat milk, fruit, and vegetables, but those are not the foods kids are requesting. Instead, they are seeking the preferred choices served in the past, which may have less to do with calories than familiarity.
The Problem: When you really weigh the difference between the calories of the old school lunch tray and the new, the bigger problem may be about giving kids the food they like, even though some of those foods, especially those that are fried and laden with unhealthy ingredients, may not like them back. Herein lies the disconnect: Our children need help in getting to a healthier place, and although science has paved the way, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make sense of the science—especially when it comes to serving kids the foods they not only need, but they actually like.
And perhaps the problem goes way beyond school walls. Although the cafeteria can be a classroom through the introduction of healthier options, parents need to step up to the plate at home, too. The most important part a parent can play is that of role model. Setting up a salad bar at home and adding veggies to pizza are just some of the ways parents can bring home a healthier message.
The compromise: School lunch provides approximately one-third of the calories an average child needs for the day, but children who are active and fast-growing may require more than others. Although kids should have an adequate number of calories to support health and growth, it’s important to focus on the right types of calories, not just the number of calories required. In other words, we need to look at quality and quantity. It’s also unrealistic and perhaps unhealthy for kids to attempt to meet the demands of their school day, both physically and intellectually, all in one meal. Eating a balanced breakfast and including energizing snacks is key in maintaining energy levels.
Parents may need to send the right snacks with their children instead of sugary treats, which could zap their energy instead of providing it…. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/10/05/hungry-vs-healthy-the-school-lunch-controversy

The challenge is getting kids to eat the food mandated by the rules and for school districts to find “kid tasty” foods which are affordable. A Child’s health is too important to be the subject of tawdry political wrangling and high pressure tactics from big money interests. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

USDA changes school lunch requirements
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/271813-usda-changes-school-lunch-requirements

USDA backpedals on healthy school-lunch rules
http://grist.org/news/usda-backpedals-on-healthy-school-lunch-rules/

National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

Related:

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potato
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch?
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/28/do-kids-get-enough-time-to-eat-lunch/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

U.S.D.A. has new rules for snacks in school vending machines

7 Jul

Moi has been following the school vending machine issue for awhile. In Government is trying to control the vending machine choices of children, moi wrote:
The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. Ron Nixon reports in the New York Times article, New Guidelines Planned on School Vending Machines about the attempt to legislate healthier eating habits. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/us/politics/new-rules-planned-on-school-vending-machines.html?_r=1&hpw
There have been studies about the effect of vending machine snacking and childhood obesity.
Katy Waldman wrote the Slate article, Do Vending Machines Affect Student Obesity?

Despite all the recent handwringing (even pearl clutching) over junk food in schools, a study out this month in the quarterly Sociology of Education found no link between student obesity rates and the school-wide sale of candy, chips, or sugary soda. The finding undermines efforts by policy makers to trim kids’ waistlines by banning snacks from the classroom. And it must taste odd to the many doctors and scientists who see vending machines as accessories in the childhood obesity epidemic.  
The study followed 19,450 fifth graders of both sexes for four years. At the beginning, 59 percent of the students went to schools that sold “competitive foods”—that is, non-cafeteria fare not reimbursable through federal meal programs. CFs tend to have higher sugar or fat content and lower nutritional value (think the indulgences at the top of the food pyramid, like Coke and Oreos). By the time the students reached eighth grade, 86 percent of them attended schools that sold competitive foods. The researchers, led by Pennsylvania State University’s Jennifer Van Hook, then compared body mass indexes from the 19,450 students, including those who’d spent all four years in junk food-free environments, those who’d left such schools for vending machine-friendly ones, those who’d transferred from vending machine-friendly schools to junk food-free schools, and those who enjoyed access to vending machines for all four years. Regardless of which data sets they contrasted, the researchers were unable to find any sort of connection between obesity and the availability of “unhealthy” snacks in school. In other words, children who could theoretically grab a Snickers bar after class every day for four years were, on average, no heavier than those who couldn’t.
While Van Hook speculated to the New York Times that the findings reflect our tendency to “establish food preferences… early in life,” she also noted in her paper that middle schoolers’ regimented schedules could prevent them from doing much unsupervised eating. (I guess that means that the students didn’t have time to utilize the junk food options they had, which is an issue for another day). In any case, the takeaway is clear. You can’t solve childhood obesity by outlawing vending machines. The obesity epidemic (if it is one) depends on a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Maybe a full-court press of school regulations plus zoning laws that encourage supermarkets to come to poor neighborhoods plus government subsidies for fruits and veggies plus crackdowns on fast food advertising plus fifty other adjustments would begin to make a dent in the problem. (Maybe a saner cultural attitude towards food, weight, and looks in general would also help). http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/01/24/junk_food_in_school_do_vending_machines_make_kids_fat_.html

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/government-is-trying-to-control-the-vending-machine-choices-of-children/
See, Rising Childhood Obesity and Vending Machines http://www.medicaladvices.net/Child_Health/rising-childhood-obesity-and-vending-machines-a14.html
Nirvi Shah writes in the Education Week article, Rules for School Vending Machines, Snacks Unveiled:

Long-awaited rules that regulate the fat, salt, sugar, and calories in snacks and vending machine foods sold in schools were finally released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today.
The rules take effect during the 2014-15 school year. Nutrition advocates have been pressing the USDA to issue the rules this month. Any later, and they wouldn’t have taken effect until the 2015-16 school year.
The new rules are the first update to school snack regulations since the 1970s. The existing rules only limited “foods of minimal nutritional value,” which didn’t keep candy bars, snack cakes, and sugary, vitamin-fortified sports drinks, from being regulated, said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Despite some high hopes for the rules, which come on the heels of strict rules for school lunches, they won’t completely wipe out sodas, chips, or sweets from schools. But they will make a dent.
“Millions of students currently have widespread access to snacks and beverages that are high in sugar, fat, and salt, but limited access to nutritious options such as fruits and vegetables in school stores, snack bars, and vending machines,” said Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. “With many students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, these new standards represent the kind of positive change we need to help reduce obesity rates among children and teens.”
Many of the rules are adapted from those that were originally proposed by the agency, which received about 250,000 comments.
What happens if schools don’t comply? Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he hopes schools do, though there aren’t explicit penalties if they don’t, unlike rules for the school lunch and breakfast programs. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2013/06/rules_for_school_vending_machines_snacks_unveiled.html?intc=es

Here is the press release for the “Smart Snacks in Schools” rule:

News Release
 
Release No. 0134.13
Contact:
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

Printable version
Email this page

 
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights New “Smart Snacks in School” Standards; Will Ensure School Vending Machines, Snack Bars Include Healthy Choices

 
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that under USDA’s new ” Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards, America’s students will be offered healthier food options during the school day.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Parents and schools work hard to give our youngsters the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong, and providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will support their great efforts.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools — beyond the federally-supported meals programs. The “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards, to be published this week in the Federal Register, reflect USDA’s thoughtful consideration and response to the nearly 250,000 comments received on the proposal earlier this year.
“Smart Snacks in School” carefully balances science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating on campus, drawing on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, as well as healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace.
Highlights of the “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards include:
More of the foods we should encourage. Like the new school meals, the standards require healthier foods, more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner protein.
Less of the foods we should avoid. Food items are lower in fat, sugar, and sodium and provide more of the nutrients kids need.
Targeted standards. Allowing variation by age group for factors such as portion size and caffeine content.
Flexibility for important traditions. Preserving the ability for parents to send their kids to school with homemade lunches or treats for activities such as birthday parties, holidays, and other celebrations; and allowing schools to continue traditions like fundraisers and bake sales.
Ample time for implementation. Schools and food and beverage companies will have an entire school year to make the necessary changes, and USDA will offer training and technical assistance every step of the way.
Reasonable limitations on when and where the standards apply. Ensuring that standards only affect foods that are sold on school campus during the school day. Foods sold at afterschool sporting events or other activities will not be subject to these requirements.
Flexibility for state and local communities. Allowing significant local and regional autonomy by only establishing minimum requirements for schools. States and schools that have stronger standards than what is being proposed will be able to maintain their own policies.
USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food.
America’s students now have healthier and more nutritious school meals due to improved nutrition standards implemented as a result of the historic Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
USDA’s MyPlate symbol and the resources at ChooseMyPlate.gov provide quick, easy reference tools for parents, teachers, healthcare professionals and communities.
USDA launched a new $5 million Farm to School grant program in 2012 to increase the amount of healthy, local food in schools.
USDA awarded $5.2 million in grants to provide training and technical assistance for child nutrition foodservice professionals and support stronger school nutrition education programs.
Collectively these policies and actions will help combat child hunger and obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation’s children; a top priority for the Obama Administration. The interim final rule announced today is an important component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to combat the challenge of childhood obesity.
#
Additional materials available:
High-resolution version info-graphic
Questions & Answers
TV Feature
Interim Final Rule
For more information on Smart Snacks in School, please visit http://www.usda.gov/healthierschoolday
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

The issue of childhood obesity is complicated and there are probably many factors. If a child’s family does not model healthy eating habits, it probably will be difficult to change the food preferences of the child. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:
University of Illinois Chicago study: Laws reducing availability of snacks are decreasing childhood obesity https://drwilda.com/2012/08/13/university-of-illinois-chicago-study-laws-reducing-availability-of-snacks-are-decreasing-childhood-obesity/
New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/
Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/
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USDA revises school lunch guidelines to include more meat and grains

12 Dec

Moi wrote about the school lunch program in School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children:

There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson extended the program by offering breakfast to school children. It began as a two years pilot program for children in rural areas and those living in poorer neighborhoods. It was believed that these children would have to skip breakfast in order to catch the bus for the long ride to school. There were also concerns that the poorer families could not always afford to feed their children breakfast. Johnson believed, like many of us today, that children would do better in school if they had a good breakfast to start their day. The pilot was such a success that it was decided the program should continue. By 1975, breakfast was being offered to all children in public or non-profit private school. This change was made because educators felt that more children were skipping breakfast due to both parent being in the workforce.

In 1968, a summer meals program was offered to low income children. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks are still available to students each year, during the summer break. Any child in need can apply for the program at the end of the school year. Parents that are interested in the summer meals program should contact their local school administration.

Since its inception, the school lunch/meals programs have become available in more than 98,800 schools….

Hungry children have more difficulty in focusing and paying attention, their ability to learn is impacted. President Truman saw feeding hungry children as a key part of the national defense. https://drwilda.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

Mary Clare Jalonick of AP reports at Huffington Post in the article, School Lunches To Be Allowed Unlimited Meats, Grains, USDA Announces:

WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department is responding to criticism over new school lunch rules by allowing more grains and meat in kids’ meals.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told members of Congress in a letter Friday that the department will do away with daily and weekly limits of meats and grains. Several lawmakers wrote the department after the new rules went into effect in September saying kids aren’t getting enough to eat. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/09/school-lunches-to-be-allo_n_2267731.html

See the press release: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cga/pressreleases/2012/0023.htm

Here is a sample menu: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/cnr_chart.pdf

The challenge is getting kids to eat the food mandated by the rules and for school districts to find “kid tasty” foods which are affordable. A Child’s health is too important to be the subject of tawdry political wrangling and high pressure tactics from big money interests. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.
John F. Kennedy

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
Confucius

Resources:

USDA changes school lunch requirements                                http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/271813-usda-changes-school-lunch-requirements

USDA backpedals on healthy school-lunch rules                   http://grist.org/news/usda-backpedals-on-healthy-school-lunch-rules/

National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet                       http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

Related:

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry childrenhttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potatohttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congresshttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch? https://drwilda.com/2012/08/28/do-kids-get-enough-time-to-eat-lunch/

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©               http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                            http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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