Thursday, April 28, 2011

CDC Report Released on Children's Food Environment in our State

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release a new state indicator report titled, “Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report – United States, 2011.”  This report provides state-level data on behavioral, policy and environmental indicators related to access to healthy foods in child-centered settings (i.e., schools, communities and child care centers).  
Below is a statement from AHA CEO Nancy Brown highlighting  what states can do to help increase access to healthy food. 

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown says CDC Report on Children’s Food Environment Underscores Need for Strong Public PoliciesApril 26, 2011
Our nation’s youth face major roadblocks to good health with easy access to calorie-laden snacks, sugary beverages and other unhealthy foods in their schools and communities. With about 1 out of every 6 children in the U.S. considered obese, we are condemning our kids to a bleak future of premature health problems such as type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. The CDC Report: Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report is a painful reminder that many children continue to lack access to fruits, vegetables and nutritious food close to home. We must place a greater emphasis on making healthier food choices more accessible and affordable, particularly for families living in food deserts where the nearest supermarket could be miles away and for those surrounded by fast food restaurants or corner stores with less healthy offerings.
Parents, schools, child-care facilities and communities have the potential to improve the health of young people by providing the tools they need to learn lifelong healthy behaviors. By strengthening nutrition standards in schools, pre-schools and day care settings, we can help limit kids’ exposure to unhealthy options. We must also support measures to reduce sodium and eliminate trans fat in the food supply, increase community and school gardens, reduce children’s exposure to marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods and require calorie information to be displayed on menus and menu boards in all restaurants.
Strong public policies and community programs to increase access to healthy foods will help children develop heart-healthy eating habits that could significantly reduce childhood obesity rates across the country.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FDA releases guidance on water and milk in schools

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released their guidance documents on water availability during School Lunch Meal Service and nutrition guidelines for milk served at schools. Part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed by Congress included requirements relating to milk and water and this is the FDA's recommendation to schools on implimentating that. 

Below is a summary of both of those recommendations.

Water availability in school:

• Free water must be made readily available to children during lunch.

• Schools are given flexibility in how to implement this change. The memo reads: “For example, schools can offer water pitchers and cups on lunch tables, a water fountain, or a faucet that allows students to fill their own bottles or cups with drinking water.”

• Water is not considered part of the reimbursable meal. However, reasonable costs from providing water will be considered an allowable cost to the nonprofit food service account.

Nutrition Requirements for Fluid Milk

• Schools should offer children at least two choices of fluid milk that are either fat-free or low-fat (1 percent).

• Schools may continue to offer plain or flavored milk as long as they are fat-free or low-fat until the new proposed school meals rule goes into effect.

Even though local school districts have until the start of next school year (SY 2011-2012) to comply with the requirements, they are encouraging school officials and food service directors to start making these changes now. Implementing these changes quickly is key to making the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act a success.

How can you as an advocate support your school in this process?
• Workwith school wellness councils to raise awareness of these new requirements and the timetable for making changes

• Collaborate with community stakeholders and the media to build awareness and excitement about these nutritional improvements

• Supporteducation and dialogue for school staff, students, and parents promoting the acceptance and understanding of the health benefits of lower-fat milk and the availability of water

• Connectschools with best practice information on education materials, curriculum, and advice on lessons learned from the implementation of similar requirements

For updates on legislation in Oklahoma dealing with child nutrition please visit and become an adovcate today!

Monday, April 4, 2011

County Health Rankings are Out

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently released the 2011 County Health Rankings ( The Rankings rank nearly every county in every state in the nation on their overall health. Counties are ranked on health factors such as adult smoking and adult obesity as well as health outcomes such as premature death and low birthweight.

You can access our state data by clicking on the map at this site:

Congratulations to Woods county for being ranked #1!

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