Monday, July 20, 2009

Nutrition Programs Can Encourage Healthy Eating

As debate on Child Nutrition Reauthorization begins to heat up the halls of Congress (and the blogosphere), many questions are being raised about the role of the federal nutrition programs in fostering healthy eating.

The truth is, existing federal programs appear to have very little to do with eating habits. Years of research on the effects of SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) on diet concluded that SNAP participants eat more (as is the point of the program), but not very differently from their neighbors.

Likewise, a new USDA report released last week concludes that participation in the federal school meals programs is "not significantly related" to students' waistlines.

But just because these programs "do no harm" doesn't mean they can't be leveraged to improve public health.

For example, today's New York Times examines the growth in the use of SNAP benefits at farmers' markets across the country. And here in Texas, a new federal program is bringing farmers' market coupons to low-income elderly in Witchita Falls (1, 2) among other cities.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization gives us a chance to re-write the rules for school meals and other programs to improve our children's diets. You can get involved by learning what we think needs to change, then signing up to help us change it!

1 comment:

Centenial College said...

Government have to promote such type of programs and giving more funds for child and infants through summit and nutrition programs.

nutrition programs