News from your Executive Director
Week ending 11 June 2010
- KaBOOM CEO Writes About Childhood Obesity Taskforce
Many thanks to Kyle Lafferty for sharing this interesting article written by her former employer, KaBOOM:
2. 2. Prince George’s County Schools Featured in Alliance Success Stories
Congratulations to Society Parliamentarian Betsy Gallun on the great work happening in her district, recognized recently by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in their monthly Healthy Schools Program newsletter:
3. USDA Announces Grants to Help End Hunger in America
New Grants to Foster Hunger-Free Communities and Deliver Help to Americans in Need
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will invest in research, planning, and various hunger relief activities to help end hunger in America. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill, authorizes $5 million in funding under the new Hunger-Free Communities grants to deliver help to Americans in need.
“Hunger is a problem that the American sense of fairness should not tolerate and American ingenuity can overcome,” said Secretary Vilsack. “That’s why we have set the goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015 and support rapid passage of a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill that will reduce hunger and improve the health and nutrition of our Nation’s children. Through these new Hunger-Free Community grants, our strong partnerships at the National, State and local levels will be pivotal in providing better access to food and a more healthful diet for our Nation’s most vulnerable.”
Despite record participation in Federal nutrition assistance programs, food insecurity still persists. USDA’s study, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008, reported that 14.6 percent, or 17 million households, were food insecure. These households, at some time during the year, had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources.
Through the grants, FNS seeks strategies that support the creation of Hunger-Free Communities by funding activities including food distribution, community outreach, resource development and other methods to make food more accessible to those most in need.
One million will fund Planning and Assessment Grants to evaluate food insecurity in communities and develop strategies to become hunger-free. The remaining $4 million will support Implementation Grants for communities that already have a plan to end hunger and need resources for program implementation.
The grants are available to public and not-for-profit organizations and require collaboration with one or more community partners. Grant applications may be submitted by email to: HungerFreeCommunities@fns.usda.gov or through www.grants.gov.
Improving USDA’s child nutrition programs are a top priority of the Obama Administration. Congress is currently considering legislation to bolster the Child Nutrition Act, which authorizes the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Summer Food Service Programs. These programs serve nearly 32 million children each school day and work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Improving the Child Nutrition Act is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign and highlighted in the White House report Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation released Tuesday, May 11. By passing strong reauthorization legislation, the Administration hopes to reduce hunger, promote access, and improve the overall health and nutrition of children throughout the country. To learn more about the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, visit www.LetsMove.gov.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.
4. Press Release from the American College of Sports Medicine
STUDY LINKS PHYSICAL FITNESS, ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE FOR MIDDLE-SCHOOLERS
Fitter students make the grade on standardized tests
BALTIMORE– Cutting physical education classes to focus on academics might be counterproductive, according to research presented today at theAmerican College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
A study showed that middle-school students with higher levels of physical fitness fared better on standardized tests than students who were less fit. The study involved 338 sixth-grade students at a small, urban middle school in central Illinois, and showed that students who were more fit tended to show stronger academic achievement.
Students meeting cardiovascular fitness standards “were six times more likely to meet or exceed Illinois reading standards and over two-and-a-half times more likely to meet or exceed the math standards,” said Ronald W. Bass, lead researcher of the study.
Bass’ study found significant correlations between boys’ reading scores and both body mass index and their ability to perform curl-ups. Girls’ cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength correlated to math scores. There was also a significant association between cardiovascular fitness and reading scores.
Researchers say these results, reinforcing previous studies linking physical activity and academic performance, have clear implications for policy makers.
"The emphasis on standardized test scores has meant less funding for physical education and physical activity in schools,” Bass said. “Given the increasing body of knowledge on the subject, schools may want to place more emphasis on physical education and physical activity programs not only to improve students’ health but to raise their academic achievement as well.”
Questions of education policy, standardized testing and strategies for boosting student achievement are coming into sharp focus with the impending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in Congress.
5. RWJF Report on Nutrition and Physical Activity in Schools
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Bridging the Gap released a report on nutrition and physical activity practices in elementary schools nationwide. The new report, School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Elementary School Survey Results, “examined practices relevant to nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention. The report details how many schools have not implemented wellness policy provisions required by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. For example, only 49 percent of students who attended a public elementary school with a wellness policy in place were covered by nutritional guidelines for competitive foods and beverages—even though such guidelines were required by the federal mandate.” For more details: http://www.rwjf.org/childhoodobesity/product.jsp?id=64429&cid=XEM_205602&cid=XEM_205602
6. U.S. ED’s IES’ NCES RELEASES “THE CONDITION OF EDUCATION, 2010”
The National Center for Education Statistics recently released “The Condition of Education, 2010,” a Congressionally mandated report to the nation on education in America today. It covers all aspects of education, with 49 indicators that include findings on enrollment trends, demographics, and outcomes.
The report projects that public school enrollment will rise from 49 million in 2008 to 52 million by 2019, with the largest increase expected in the South. Over the past decade, more students attended both charter schools and high-poverty schools (those in which more than 75 percent of the students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch). One in six U.S. students attends a high-poverty school; and the number of charter school students has tripled since 1999.
This year’s report features a special section that looks closer at these high-poverty schools in America, examining the types and locations of schools, the characteristics of the students and their teachers and principals; and student achievement. It finds a wide and persistent gap in educational achievement.
The 2010 edition includes indicators in six main areas:
- special section on high-poverty schools;
- participation in education;
- learner outcomes;
- student effort and educational progress;
- the contexts of elementary and secondary education; and
- the contexts of postsecondary education.
Report findings include:
- In 2007-2008, about 20 percent of all elementary students and 9 percent of secondary school students attended high-poverty schools, compared with 15 percent and 5 percent respectively in 1999-2000.
- The reading achievement gap between low- and high-poverty 8th-grade students was 34 points in 2009 and the mathematics achievement gap was 38 points.
- In 2007-08, about 28 percent of high school graduates from high-poverty schools attended 4-year institutions after graduation, compared with 52 percent of high school graduates from low-poverty schools, based on reports from school administrators.
- Between 1971 and 2009, the percentage of White, Black and Hispanic 25- to 29-year-olds who had a bachelor’s degree increased. But, during this period, the gap in bachelor’s degree attainment between Blacks and Whites increased from 12 to 18 percentage points and the gap between Hispanics and Whites increased from 14 to 25 percentage points.
To view the report in its entirety, visit: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/
7. 7. House Democrats to Announce Introduction of New Child Nutrition Legislation
Celebrity Chef Rachael Ray to Join Lawmakers to Unveil New Legislation to Put Children on a Path to a Healthier Future
WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, June 10 at 11:00am Eastern, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, will hold a press conference with lawmakers, daytime host, author and child nutrition advocate Rachael Ray and anti-hunger and child nutrition advocates to unveil the details of new legislation he will introduce the same day. The “Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act” will dramatically improve the quality of meals children eat both in and out of school and in child care settings, support community efforts to reduce childhood hunger and, for the first time, establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools.
The legislation mirrors key investments proposed by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in her “Let’s Move” initiative, including reducing childhood obesity, improving school wellness, implementing new school food safety guidelines, and supporting public and private partnerships to improve child nutrition.
WHAT: News Conference to Unveil Historic Child Nutrition Legislation
WHO: U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA),chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee
U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Rachael Ray, daytime host and author
Other participants TBA
You can find the House Child Nutrition bill, which is being introduced today, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/foodanddining/documents/nutrition-bill.pdf. The bill includes most all of NANA's CNR recommendations.
8. Wall Street Journal highlights need for more physical education
Wall Street Journal via AAHPERD
A report out from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Heart Association suggests only a slight improvement in the state of P.E. since the last such "Shape of the Nation" survey four years ago. The good news: The percentage of states requiring P.E. has increased at the elementary, junior- high and high-school levels. The bad, according to the report: "Most do not require a specific amount of instruction time, and about half allow exemptions, waivers, and/or substitutions."More