Holt Introduces Farm to School Bill to Fight Childhood Obesity, Support Local Farmers
(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) has introduced legislation that would create a Farm to School grant program to combat childhood obesity and support local farmers. The Farm to School Improvements Act (H.R. 4710) would establish a competitive grant and technical assistance program to increase the use of local foods from small and medium sized farms in schools. The grant funds would improve the relationships between schools and local food providers. The legislation would provide $10 million in mandatory funding each year for the duration of the program and require that grant recipients provide a local match to ensure serious commitment to the project.
HHS Awards $372 Million in Prevention and Wellness Grants to 44 Communities Around the Nation
On March 19, 2010, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced CDC's prevention and wellness grants totaling $372 million to 44 communities to support public health efforts to reduce obesity, increase physical activity, improve nutrition and decrease smoking. The awards are part of the HHS signature Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative funded by the Recovery Act. Although NJ did not receive funding under this initiative, we are hopeful that there may be other opportunities in the future.
New health care bill requires calorie counts for chain restaurants
One provision of the new health care bill (H.R. 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is a menu labeling proposal for chain restaurants with more than 20 locations. The proposal requires chains to post the caloric content of each item (and the total calories of combo meals) next to its listing on the menu, the menu board, and even the drive-through menu kiosk. Click here to read the provision.
Is there an obesity tipping point in infancy?
Researchers say national childhood obesity prevention and education efforts should include families with newborns and toddlers, and promote healthy habits that start early -in pregnancy or even before.
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 would revamp the Child Nutrition Act
The federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 would provide an additional $4.5 billion to child-nutrition programs over the next 10 years. This bill directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set new nutrition standards for all food served in schools, including vending machines. The bill also requires additional training and qualification standards for cafeteria staff at schools that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. One of the bill's chief goals is to expand the number of students served.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Sworn In
Dr. Poonam Alaigh became the New Jersey's health commissioner on Friday, March 26, 2010.