Volume 118, Issue 8, Pages 1490-1497 (August 2018)
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that children and adolescents should have access to safe and healthy foods that promote physical, cognitive, and social growth and development. Federally funded nutrition assistance programs, such as food assistance, meal service, and nutrition education, play a vital role in ensuring that children and adolescents have access to the foods they need and in improving the overall nutrition and health environments of communities. Federally funded nutrition assistance programs help to ensure that children and adolescents receive safe, healthy foods that provide adequate energy and nutrients to meet their growth and development needs. These programs provide access to adequate food supplies to combat hunger and food insecurity; provide healthy foods to children and adolescents who have nutritional or medical risk factors, such as iron deficiency anemia; and provide nutrition education. In addition, federally funded nutrition assistance programs serve as a means to prevent or reduce obesity and other chronic diseases. It is important that permanent and full federal funding be provided for these programs, which have been consistently shown to have a positive impact on child and adolescent nutrition and health outcomes. Registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered — trained in food science, nutrition, and food systems to implement programs to monitor, evaluate, and improve the nutritional status of children and adolescents — are preeminently qualified to implement and evaluate nutrition assistance programs for children and adolescents.