Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Healthy Food Fuels Hungry Minds conference

Not sure yet how I'll divide this one up...coming up is an update on the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act and other legislation, changes in nutrition standards, and food and the link with school performance 

in 2015, more than 30 million students participate in the National School Lunch program (more than half of kids in private and public schools)
those in meal programs consume about half their total daily calories at school

federal school meal subsidies and in-kind food (which is about 20% of food served)
state school meal administration
Local education agency implementation

every five years the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids act has to be renewed (expired last September)
main programs under this bill: national school lunch program, also includes WIC, CACFP, summer food serves, farm to school
HHFK Act created Community Eligibility (if 40% of kids in the school were eligible from other registrations): reduces stigma, increases participation
upated school nutrition standards
reimbursement increases (performance-based)
strengthened local wellness policies

comments on proposed regulations really necessary for those concerned about child nutrition and quality food in schools

increasing participation: important to expand direct certification: include Medicaid would make a big difference
recommend getting rid of reduced price lunch
increasing grants for innovative breakfast programs
97% of schools are meeting the nutrition standards (from USDA, June 2015); they're working, too, as kids are eating more fruits, vegetables, healthy foods

increase reimbursement rates: 2015-16 $3.13 for free lunch; $2.73 for reduced; $0.35 for paid meals
"needless to say $3.13 is not a lot"
the underfunding dates back about thirty years
over 1000 schools applied for Farm to School Grant program; only 221 grants were given

88% of schools report needing at least one additional piece of equipment; 64% report needing additional staff training

CNA2016 on Senate side: larger sample size for verification
delays sodium reduction target; reduces whole grains (to 80%)
$30M a year for grant equipment; loan assistance
$10M grant for Farm to School (increase $5M)

CNA2016 on House side: strictly along party lines (20-14)
one amendment was to change the name to the Hunger Games Act of 2016
pilot block grant in three states
limites application outreach to 2x/year
increases verification
CEP from 40% to 60%: will impact 7000 current schools "and that's just the schools that are currently in the program"
blocks sodium reductions

issues are the block granting, community eligibility provision
or bills could stall and the programs will continue through FY17 appropriations

What should we be eating?
less meat
less sugar and salt
more fruits, especially whole fruits
more vegetables
more legumes, nuts, seafood
Is butter back? might be just as bad as refined carbs
Eggs are back! Moderate consumption is ; weak link between consumed cholesterol and cholesterol in blood
specific of saturated v. unsaturated fat (limit on previous; not on second)
report recommended reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and red meat (though it didn't make the nutrition guidelines)
aligned with school meals
"kids learn what a healthy meal looks like when they enter the cafeteria"
half fruits and vegetables; other half divided between grains (whole grains) and proteins (with it being better to have plant-based proteins)
dairy, but in smaller amounts
kids should be drinking water
what are kids actually eating?...not what they should
"with the updated standards, kids are eating better"
critical to keep standards strong
zero exempt fundraisers in Massachusetts: food fundraisers during the school day MUST meet school nutrition standards (does anyone else think this is widely ignored?)
reformulated foods to be served in schools (that are in compliance)
HOWEVER, 15% of those foods aren't being sold in stores

Panel on school food and school performance
"if we don't feed them well, they can't learn well"
people have worriedabout providing good food to kids for decades
with breakfast, kids do better on tests, have improved attendance
"effect grows with the increasing duration of the breakfast program"
types and amounts of food have not been well studied
what's the relationship between better and more food and:
academic performance?
recess before lunch?
how much time do kids need to eat?
what is the extent of waste in food served at schools?
hard to do evaluations because it's expensive, it's challenging to do the research, and it's difficult to isolate variables
need to strengthen relationships between schools and researchers to get good information
Chicopee: why it's important to eat, what it does
display of food, identifying local foods
"ChicopeeFRESH" teaching students to demand locally grown food
serving appetizing home cooked meals
reducing hunger, increasing capacity to learn
driving life-long change
Chicopee increased local sourcing from $10K in FY14 to $200K in FY16
breakfast in the classroom in the highest-need school: "finally got an administrator" who would consider it
"really important that they're eating there"
"would love to have happen...extend lunchtime so kids can eat all the food they're served"
"not learning the healthy habits they should be"
Common Threads: "build a culture of health within the schools"
work within the school day aligned with curriculum
School Meals that Rock: "it's not nutrition unless they eat or drink it"
"having the time and atmosphere in order to consume the food that is prepared and served takes some effort"
change what cafeterias are like
"what kind of place do you want to eat in?"
kids having to leave their coats on to eat: how many restaurants do you know of who have to do that?
"some of the cows in my feedlot get more time to eat"
"it isn't about herding them in and herding them out"
"after breakfast, I feel good at listening and learning"
need to listen to what kids say about what the experience of eating is like and what that connects to them instead of learning

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