Fruits and Vegetables/Federal


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Increased Access to Healthy Food

Action steps to increase access to healthy food nationwide include:

  1. Support Federal Child Nutrition Programs
  2. Improve National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
  3. Increase funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers in WIC

Action steps to increase access to healthy food nationwide include:

  1. Support Federal Child Nutrition Programs

    President Obama recently signed into law the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which reauthorized, expanded and improved the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, as well as a number of other federal child nutrition programs.  The bill establishes national nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold in schools, including vending machines and a la carte lines, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  In addition, for the first time in almost 40 years, the new law will increase the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches, which will be used to help schools pay for more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other nutritious foods.

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  2. Improve National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs

    The National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs have made incredible strides over the last 40 years in assuring that all children have the basic nutrition necessary to grow and learn.  However, according to USDA's most recent statistics, only approximately 63% of eligible children participate in the National School Lunch Program, and only 24% of eligible children participate in the School Breakfast Program.  Efforts must be made to increase participation among eligible students and increase funding so that schools may provide healthy, palatable meals to these children.

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  3. Increase funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers in WIC

    A number of federal programs have recently been created or expanded to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families; however, these programs must be strengthened and expanded to reach all nutritionally at-risk families.  Funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program should be increased to serve children in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The WIC Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers should be increased from $6 to $8 for children who are WIC beneficiaries, as recommended by the IOM.

    The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December, took a crucial step toward providing healthier food to millions of children across the country by increasing the federal reimbursement for school lunches for the first time in 40 years, to cover the cost of more expensive fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Limit Unhealthy Foods

Action steps to limit unhealthy foods nationwide include:

  1. Regulate competitive foods offered in schools
  2. Support Federal Child Nutrition Programs, including the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs

Action steps to limit unhealthy foods nationwide include:

  1. Regulate competitive foods offered in schools

    Until recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) only had the authority to regulate the nutritional value of foods sold as part of a school meal.  The USDA could not regulate "competitive foods," i.e. foods sold in alternative food lines, as part of a la carte menus, in vending machines, and foods sold during the school day outside of meal time.  For the first time ever, the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December, grants the USDA the authority to regulate all foods sold in schools throughout the school day, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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  2. Support Federal Child Nutrition Programs, including the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs

    President Obama recently signed into law the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which reauthorized, expanded and improved the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, as well as a number of other federal child nutrition programs.  The bill establishes national nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold in schools, including vending machines and a la carte lines, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  In addition, for the first time in almost 40 years, the new law will increase the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches, which will be used to help schools pay for more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other nutritious foods.

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    For more information:

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Point of Purchase

Action steps for point of purchase nationwide include:

  1. Require menu labeling in restaurants to provide consumers with calorie information on menus and menu boards.

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Action steps for point of purchase nationwide include:

  1. Require menu labeling in restaurants to provide consumers with calorie information on menus and menu boards.

    The health care reform legislation that was signed into law by President Obama included a requirement that all chain restaurants and vending machines with at least 20 operations nationwide to list calorie content next to the menu item and provide a statement concerning suggested daily caloric intake. This provision goes into effect for all chain restaurants in March 2011.

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Media Campaigns

Action steps to develop media campaigns nationwide include:

  1. Develop media campaigns with consistent messaging utilizing multiple mechanisms.
  2. Advocate with FTC to implement stronger regulations on food marketed toward children

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Action steps to develop media campaigns nationwide include:

  1. Develop media campaigns with consistent messaging utilizing multiple mechanisms.

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should work with the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a national public service campaign to educate families and children on the benefits of healthy, active living. 

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  2. Advocate with FTC to implement stronger regulations on food marketed toward children

    The Federal Communications Commission should limit commercial advertising on children's programming to no more than five to six minutes per hour, which would decrease the current amount by 50 percent; and prohibit interactive food advertising to children in digital TV and online platforms.  In addition, the Federal Trade Commission should ban advertising for food of minimal nutritional value during programming that is viewed predominantly by young children.

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Change Relative Pricing

Action steps to change relative pricing nationwide include:

  1. Implement a tax strategy to discourage consumption of food and beverages with minimal nutritional value, including a soda tax
  2. Shift Farm Bill policies from supporting unhealthy foods to more fresh fruits and vegetables

Action steps to change relative pricing nationwide include:

  1. Implement a tax strategy to discourage consumption of food and beverages with minimal nutritional value, including a soda tax

    The average child in the United States drinks 172 calories of sugar-sweetened beverages each day.  These drinks and other foods of minimal nutritional value have a direct link to overweight and obesity.  A small tax on these products would not only raise revenue to be used toward further obesity prevention programs, but could also dissuade parents, children and other consumers from purchasing these unhealthy products.

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  2. Shift Farm Bill policies from supporting unhealthy foods to more fresh fruits and vegetables

    The Farm Bill sets most of the federal government's major agricultural policies.  The next Farm Bill should ensure that U.S. agricultural policies complement our nation's goals for health and fitness by ensuring that they work in concert to promote the production and consumption of healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables.  The wide range of Farm Bill programs should be evaluated to ensure that they promote healthy foods and do not unduly support the production of less healthy commodities and other food items.

    Recommended by: AAP Policy: Dietary Recommendations for Children and Adolescents

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