January 20, 2016
CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports the bipartisan work of the Senate Agriculture Committee on the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, which prioritizes the health, nutrition and well-being of millions of children by assuring access to healthy foods and nutrition services.
"Child nutrition programs provide an infrastructure that improves children's health on a nationwide scale, while also improving school attendance, test scores and educational attainment," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton. "Academy members, including registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered, are the leaders of these programs that will help build a strong and healthy next generation."
The Academy is encouraged by the inclusion of many of the Academy's recommendations by the bill's authors, which were developed by an 11-member Child Nutrition Reauthorization Work Group. Upon passage of the bill, these recommendations will be implemented by Academy members who lead school nutrition, WIC and other child nutrition programs.
Included in the bill, as part of the Academy’s recommendations were:
- Nutrition Education: Ensures strong, comprehensive nutrition education by requiring an evaluation of the effectiveness and level of coordination of nutrition education within the Child Nutrition Programs, as well as other federal agencies that include nutrition education to ensure cost effective use of federal funding. "Nutrition education can empower children and parents to develop lifelong healthy eating habits which can help reduce chronic disease," Crayton said.
- Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program: Supports the WIC program as an effective health and nutrition program that continues to examine new ways to help streamline administration, while at the same time assuring children have access to this program during a time that is critical to growth and development. "By including children who are not enrolled in all-day kindergarten to be eligible for WIC up to age 6 helps ensure healthier children," Crayton said.
- School Meals: Maintains nutrition standards and continues to prioritize children's health using science-based evidence. The bill also provides increased grants and training for school kitchen equipment.
- Summer Food Service Program: Expands access in innovative and effective ways to reach children in rural, underserved and unsafe areas; and streamlines administrative functions with other programs, which allow this underutilized program to reach children throughout the summer months.
- Child and Adult Care Food Program: Ensures healthy meals and snacks are served to children in day care and after-school programs by streamlining certification procedures for centers, giving the option for a third snack for providers who are open more than nine hours and allowing Residential Child Care Institutions to participate in this care-based program.
- Farm to School: Provides increased funding and support for this popular and effective grant program.
"The Academy commends the work of the Senate Agriculture Committee to draft the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 and looks forward to working with Congress to pass this important legislation," Crayton said.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.