Posts Tagged ‘Child Nutrition Act’

USDA Releases New School Meal Nutrition Standards

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Washington, D.C. — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement on the release of the final nutrition standards for school meals announced today by First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: 

“For the first time in a generation, America’s children will have better choices when they get in line at their school cafeterias. 

The new U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition standards are a huge win for kids’ health that will greatly improve the selection of foods and beverages sold in schools. When put into place across the country, these guidelines will play a critical role in helping young Americans maintain a healthy weight, and ensure their lives are free of heart disease and stroke. 

Unfortunately, this victory is not yet complete. The American Heart Association was extremely disappointed that recent congressional interference with the USDA standards will allow schools to keep french fries and pizza on the daily menu. In addition, the association is concerned that children are going to continue to consume too much salt because the timeline to apply sodium standards in school meals is lengthy. 

The association looks forward to working with the USDA, state legislatures and departments of education, and local schools districts to apply — and improve — the new nutrition standards.”

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Kermit the Frog asks, “Really?”

Monday, November 21st, 2011

It seems as if Congress’ recent decision to count pizza as a vegetable has even angered a beloved American icon. Last Saturday, Kermit the Frog displayed his dismay over the unfortunate event on SNL by appearing on Weekend Update with Seth Meyers.

Watch the video below and then click here to read American Heart Association’s CEO Nancy Brown’s official statement regarding Congress’ decision. 


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Child Nutrition Act Passes!

Monday, December 6th, 2010

On December 2nd, the U. S. House of Representatives made a tremendous investment in the health of our nation’s children with the historic passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This action completes Congress’ work on the bill and sends it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The legislation, which passed by a vote of 264 to 157, will give our kids a healthy start in life with access to nutritious meals and more opportunities for physical activity during the school day. All of us here at the American Heart Association strongly believe a healthier school environment will nurture academic achievement and reduce childhood obesity rates. With one in three American kids and teens overweight or obese, our youth are at greater risk for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, both of which are risk factors for heart disease! Teaching kids to eat well and stay fit must become a priority not just at home, but in our schools and communities.

We can all be proud that the final bill contains provisions that will help ensure a healthier school environment for our kids, including removing junk foods from schools, strengthening school wellness policies, and increasing funding for more nutritious school lunches.

Find out how your Representative voted, then join us in thanking supportive Representatives for their vote by sending a quick message!

Well done, advocates!

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Let’s step up to the plate and improve school meals, by Cardiologist Dr. Robert DiBianco

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Check out this op-ed by practicing cardiologist and American Heart Association spokesperson Dr. Robert DiBianco:

“Excess weight is commonplace in our society, and it’s damaging the health of our kids who are eating more and exercising less. They’re getting so large, that they’re outgrowing age-appropriate clothing and are at times unable to fit comfortably in classroom chairs. With childhood obesity now ranked as one of the most prominent health concerns in the U.S., we have to address the issue promptly or we risk not being able to reverse this dangerous trend.

As a cardiologist, all too often I see the medical consequences of being obese. Increasingly youngsters now require daily medications to reduce the growing risk of vascular disease produced by obesity. Medications and diagnoses that used to be reserved for adults are now being used in children of younger and younger ages. The rampant rise in risk associated with high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and “so-called” adult onset (type-2) diabetes are translating into more heart disease, at younger ages. What’s more, the psychological and emotional problems associated with obesity compromise the “joy of life” of many kids and reduce their ability to learn and excel in school.

The statistics are frightening. Childhood obesity rates have more than quadrupled in the last 30 years going from four percent to nearly 20 percent in 2008. And obesity-related diseases cost nearly $168.4 billion a year or 16.5 percent of national spending on medical care —a growing price tag this country simply cannot afford. Fewer children are taking part in simple physical activities such as swimming, bike riding, or even walking for short distances. Sedentary behavior coupled with access to high-calorie foods and beverages in school cafeterias and vending machines only exacerbate the problem.

A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois found that calorie-rich beverages, particularly high fat milk, are still widely available in schools. This is in contrast to the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine which urges elementary schools to offer only water, 100 percent juice in 4 ounce servings, and one percent skim milk products outside the school meal program. The bottom line is that students have easy access to high-calorie beverages in environments where they spend most of their day. More emphasis must be placed on initiatives to remove sugar-sweetened beverages from schools and teach youngsters how to eat sensibly and stay active.

Thanks to a landmark agreement between the beverage industry and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a non-profit organization founded by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, we’re making progress. There has been an 88 percent decrease in total beverage calories shipped to schools between the first half of the 2004-05 and 2009-10 school years. This is a step in the right direction, but it’s only one step. Now there’s an opportunity for Congress to strengthen standards for most schools in the country.

Comprehensive nutrition education and increased opportunities for physical activity in schools have proven successful in preventing and reducing obesity. But in order to build a healthy and productive future for kids, our nation’s leaders must step up to the plate and pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This legislation, which has already been approved by the U.S. Senate, is currently awaiting a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure would help strike out childhood obesity by improving the nutritional quality of school meals, removing junk food and calorie-rich drinks from vending machines and strengthening school wellness policies. Not only will these provisions help boost children’s health, but research shows that kids who are introduced to healthy foods and physical activity early in life have a greater chance of adopting healthy behaviors into adulthood. Healthy, active kids also learn more effectively and achieve more academically.

The promise of today’s youth is in our hands and we must band together to ensure swift passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. The U.S. Senate has already passed the measure, so the U.S. House of Representatives has the opportunity to send the bill to the President when Congress reconvenes this month. As children continue to weigh in at alarming levels, let’s tip the scales in favor of initiatives that will get them back in shape and make the school environment a place that promotes healthy lifestyles with physical as well as academic rewards.”

For more information about Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity, visit our website.

About the Author:

Dr. Robert DiBianco is an American Heart Association spokesperson and practicing cardiologist. Dr. DiBianco is in a cardiology group practice in suburban Washington DC.

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It’s Crunch Time for Childhood Obesity… Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act This Year!

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Today, our nation’s kids are struggling to maintain healthy lifestyles, complete with proper nutrtion and physical activity. But through the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, Congress can be part of the solution. Please do your part to get the job done on the Child Nutrition Act this year and ensure that the final bill includes:

  • Increased funding for the school meal programs to help improve nutrition standards
  • Restrictions on the junk food sold in cafeterias, snack shops, and vending machines
  • Guidelines to strengthen local wellness policies that establish the nutrition and physical activity goals of school districts

Support the Child Nutrition Act and help it get passed when Congress reconvenes after the November midterm elections! Contact your representative today through

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Child Nutrition Act Update- Still Time to Act!

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The Bad News: The anticipated House vote on the Child Nutrition Act was delayed last week.

The Good News: We still have a chance to get the bill passed by the end of the month! Tell your Representative to finish the work on the Child Nutrition Act NOW!

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Let’s Flood the Fax Machines on Capitol Hill

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

August Recess is over and Congress is back in action this week- which means it’s time for the House of Representatives to resume its work to get the Child Nutrition Act passed.

Today, the American Heart Association is running an ad in Politico, to help stress the importance of prioritizing action on the Child Nutrition Act this month. Now, we need your help to ensure every Representative sees the ad and gets the message: It’s crunch time for childhood obesity!
Will you fax the ad to your Representative today?
We’ve made it easy! Just follow the simple steps below:
1. Download and print a copy of the AHA’s Child Nutrition Act ad.
2. Write a personal message on a cover sheet for your fax, including your name and address.
3. Fax the ad to your Representative (you can find their fax number on their website).
4. Let us know you faxed the ad by reporting your action!
The Senate has already passed the Child Nutrition Act, so it is up to the House of Representatives to make healthier classrooms and cafeterias a reality for our kids this year.
But time is ticking. Before our Representatives’ attention shifts to the upcoming elections, we need to ensure they devote their attention to the health of our kids. By getting the ad in front of your Representative today, you can help keep the pressure up until the job is done.
Thank you for your continued work to fight for healthy kids!
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August Recess Challenge!

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Senators heard your message: they did the responsible thing for our kids and passed the Child Nutrition Act before adjourning for recess.

But now that Members of Congress are beginning their August Recess, we need to make sure the House of Representatives doesn’t forget they have unfinished business on Capitol Hill- Passage of the Child Nutrition Act!

Our Representatives need to see that when schools and Congress are back in session this fall, millions of kids will be counting on them to take action to make cafeterias and classrooms healthier places.

So, help us show them! Deliver the Child Nutrition photo petition to your Representative today- either virually, or in-person. It’s easy!

1) Virtual delivery: Click here to send our Child Nutrition photo petition link to your Rep. Don’t foget to personalize your message and encourage family and friends to take action too!
2) In-person delivery: You can print off a copy of the Child Nutrition photo petition to drop-off at your Representative’s district office. Just visit your Representative’s website to find the district office closest to you and stop-by with your petition copy in hand. Don’t forget to include a personal note on the back, including your name and address.

With one out of three kids in this country struggling with childhood obesity, the need to provide our kids with healthier options is immediate. The Child Nutrition Act will strengthen nutrition standards for school meals and expand opportunities for physical activity- but we will only see these provisions become a reality if the House of Representatives passes the bill.

Thank you for doing your part to keep the health of our kids at the forefront of your Representative’s mind during August Recess!

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Lincoln, Miller Call on President to Make Child Nutrition Legislation a Priority

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.) , Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor today sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to make child nutrition reauthorization a top legislative priority this year. Read the full text of the letter below…
July 13, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama
United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to you today regarding the pending reauthorization process for Federal child nutrition programs that we are currently leading in Congress. The support you have provided along with the First Lady’s passion on this issue has been greatly appreciated. As our process moves forward, it is important to highlight the path ahead and the additional steps that must be taken to ensure a successful legislative outcome. To that end, we respectfully request your assistance in ensuring that a strong reauthorization is delivered to your desk for signature before the programs expire on September 30.

As you know, child nutrition programs were extended for one year last fall. Prior to, and since that time, our respective Committees have worked closely together and with your Administration in order to develop reauthorization legislation that mirrors many of your recommendations to address two of the greatest threats to the health and security of America’s children: hunger and obesity. This year represents our best opportunity to see those efforts enacted into law.

Additionally, since last fall both chambers have been actively engaged in a bipartisan fashion to move forward legislation and maintain political momentum for the reauthorization process. In the House of Representatives, a bipartisan majority of 221 members of Congress sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi in strong support of reauthorizing child nutrition programs this year. In the Senate, a bipartisan majority of 53 senators sent a letter to Senate leadership urging swift passage of the child nutrition bill that was unanimously approved by the Agriculture Committee at the end of March.

Despite strong support and the popularity of child nutrition programs, our respective chambers continue to face challenges to enacting reauthorization legislation, the biggest of which is time. There are precious few legislative work weeks available between now and September 30th. Given these circumstances, your assistance in making this legislation a top priority for your Administration and communicating that priority to the leadership in the House and Senate is absolutely critical to ensuring that both chambers are able to send you a full reauthorization this year.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who has been a forceful advocate for child nutrition within the Administration, put it best when he recently testified before Congress. “The bottom line from my perspective is that I can’t think of anything more important than getting [child nutrition] done this year…If we don’t do this this year, this is not going to get any easier. It’s going to get much, much tougher in the future.” We could not agree with Secretary Vilsack more, and Congress and the Administration must work collectively in order to pass the best bill possible and avoid another extension of current law.

Given the difficult political environment and partisanship within Congress today, child nutrition reauthorization represents one of our best opportunities to enact legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support. Our children, and their families, deserve nothing less than our strongest leadership to see that bipartisanship passed into law. Through our combined efforts and with a strong push from you, we can maximize the likelihood of Congress passing, and you signing into law, this critically-needed legislation before the programs expire.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to continuing to work with you on this important priority.


Blanche Lincoln & George Miller

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Important Hearing on Child Nutrition

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on HR 5504, an important bill to improve the nutritional quality of meals in schools today. The bill insures that all school children receive healthy and notorious meals year round, not just on school days. On top of that, the bill also sets nutritional standards for food sold outside of cafeterias in our schools. Food sold outside of school hours or in vending machines on school grounds need to be held to the same nutritional standards that food sold in the cafeteria during lunch is.

You’re the Cure advocates and volunteers were on hand during the hearing to show support for the bill. Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Vice President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and member of the American Heart Association’s National Advocacy Coordinating Committee, testified in support of the bill. According to Dr. Sanchez, “The health of America’s children depends on a prescription for healthy food and more physical activity. This bill can play a significant role in improving the health of America’s children, reversing the childhood obesity epidemic, reducing the burden of diabetes, heart and other chronic diseases and demand for expensive medical care, and finally, improving the readiness, willingness, and ability of our future civilian and military workforce – to compete and defend our nation.”
Special emphasis was placed on the importance of military readiness during the hearing. Paul D. Monroe, Major General in the United States Army spoke about how the current obesity crisis crippled the ability of the military to recruit new soldiers. General Monroe stated, “Obesity is the leading medical reason young adults are not qualified to serve. Obesity rates among children and young adults have increased dramatically in recent decades.”

You can play an important role in advancing this important piece of legislation. Click here to send a life saving message to your legislator that you support improved nutrition for America’s children!

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