Child Nutrition Bill Passed by Senate
First Lady Michelle Obama recently pleaded with Congress to pass the child nutrition bill to help fight overweight, obesity, and hunger in American children. Her goal came closer to reality when the Senate unanimously passed the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act, which allocates $4.5 billion over the next 10 years to improve school meals. The bill now moves to the House, which must vote by September 30, when current child nutrition programs will expire.
The bill would make the following improvements by increasing the rate for reimbursable meals by six cents:
- Boost the number of low-income children who qualify for reduced-price or free school meals
- Set higher nutritional standards for items sold in the lunch line and vending machines by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and reducing fat and salt
- Remove a la carte and vending machine junk food
Stay tuned to the Health Digest for updates on this crucial legislation.
Obesity Rates Continue to Soar
In 2007, three states saw one-third of its adult obese, according to the CDC. Within two years, the number of states with a 33% obesity rate tripled to nine, all of which are in the southern U.S. Obesity rates are also higher among African Americans, Hispanics, and individuals without a high school diploma.
"Obesity is a societal problem, and it will take a societal response," said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC Director.
Guidelines for Food Marketing to Children Delayed Again
Last year Congress directed federal agencies to recommend standards to regulate food marketing geared to children. The deadline for the agencies – the FTC, FDA, USDA, and CDC – has passed and a new date had not been released.
The call for stricter standards came amid criticism of the food and beverage industries’ self-regulatory pledge – the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative – launched in 2007. The industry identifies many questionable foods as “better for you” options. Under the industry’s advertising initiative, companies agree to advertise foods and beverages that meet their nutritional criteria during TV programs, on Web sites, and in print outlets aimed primarily at children younger than 12. Public health experts question the industry pledges on the grounds that the nutrition criteria are lax and children’s media is so narrowly defined that most marketing that touches children is not affected.
“Industry self-regulation regarding marketing to children has been a failure. Children are still overwhelmed with powerful and pervasive messages from industry that push calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods,” said Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, Rudd Center Director. “There is a real urgency for government to act.”
Rudd Center Launches Fall Seminar Series
Mark Bittman, Author, New York Times Columnist, and Television Host, spoke during the Spring 2010 Seminar Series.
Each semester the Rudd Center hosts many renowned experts in academics, public policy, and the media to discuss their work and its implications for the study of obesity, food policy, and weight bias. The Fall 2010 Seminar Series will welcome Kevin W. Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services in the USDA; Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and Richard F. Daines, MD, FACP, Commissioner of Health for the New York State Department of Health.
Upcoming Seminar Speakers
September 15, 12:30 pm
September 22, 12:30 pm
September 29, 12:30 pm
October 6, 12:30 pm
Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held at the Rudd Center, located at 309 Edwards Street in New Haven, Connecticut, 06511. The seminars are free and open to the public. Seating is limited. The full schedule for our Fall Seminar Series is available online and for download as a PDF document.
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive reminders of upcoming seminars and schedule changes.
Rudd Center Spotlight: Richard F. Daines, MD, FACP
Richard F. Daines, MD, FACP, Commissioner of Health for New York State, will discuss New York’s campaign for an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages during the Rudd Center’s Fall 2010 Seminar Series on September 22.
As Commissioner, Dr. Daines heads one of the nation’s leading public health agencies. Under his leadership, the Department of Health administers the state’s public health insurance programs, regulates hospitals and other healthcare facilities, conducts research in a premier biomedical laboratory, and supports public health prevention initiatives.
Dr. Daines received a Bachelor of History degree from Utah State University and served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bolivia. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, served a residency in internal medicine at New York Hospital, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.
Prior to becoming Commissioner, Dr. Daines was the President and CEO of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center and the Senior Vice President for Professional Affairs and Medical Director at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, New York.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
In addition to sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and protein-rich, humans’ sixth taste is fatty, according to researchers at Deakin University in Australia. Sensitivity to the taste could affect consumption of fatty foods and, therefore, lead to overweight and obesity.
Library of Podcasts
Author, New York Times Columnist, Television Host
Kelly D. Brownell, PhD
Director, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Yale University
A Perspective on Taxing Sugared Beverages
Brian Wansink, PhD
John S. Dyson Endowed Chair, Applied Economics and Management Department, Cornell University; Director, Cornell Food and Brand Lab; Former Executive Director, USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Turning Mindless Eating into Healthy Eating
Michael Pollan, MA
Knight Professor of Journalism and Director, Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism, UC Berkeley; Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine
In Defense of Food: The Omnivore's Solution
Marion Nestle, PhD
Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health; New York University
Food Politics: The Perfect Storm
Our full collection of podcasts is available for download on iTunes U, under the Yale University Health & Medicine – Nutrition & Obesity category. You also may subscribe to an RSS Feed that will automatically update whenever new content is released. Podcasts can be listened to on a computer or downloaded to a music player.