Good nutrition is essential to good health throughout life. For children, proper nutrition supports not only physical health but also learning, growth and development. For adults, a nutritious diet helps prevent illness. To support good nutrition for all Americans, the Commission recommends:
RECOMMENDATION: Fund and design WIC and SNAP (Food Stamps) programs to meet the needs of hungry families for nutritious food. These federal programs must have adequate support to meet the nutritional requirements of all American families in need. More than one in every 10 American households do not have reliable access to enough food, and the foods many families can afford may not add up to a nutritious diet. Nutritious food is a basic need to start and support an active, healthy and productive life.
RECOMMENDATION: Create public-private partnerships to open and sustain full-service grocery stores in communities without access to healthful foods. Many inner city and rural families have no access to healthful foods: for example, Detroit, a city of 139 square miles has just 5 grocery stores. Maintaining a nutritious diet is impossible if healthy foods are not available; and it is not realistic to expect food retailers to address the problem without community support and investment. Communities should act now to assess needs to improve access to healthy foods and develop action plans to address deficiencies identified in their assessments.
RECOMMENDATION: Feed children only healthy foods in schools. Federal funds should be used exclusively for healthy meals. Schools should eliminate the sale of “junk” food and federal school breakfast and lunch funds should be linked to demonstrated improvements in children’s school diets.
The HealthierUS School Challenge
HealthierUS is a voluntary certification process established by USDA that rates an elementary school’s nutrition environment to recognize and encourage schools’ commitments to making healthy changes. Read more
The Edible Schoolyard
School gardens are a promising strategy to improve students’ attitude towards vegetable intake/ food preferences and increase school connectedness. Read more
Special Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs for Seniors, Women, Infants and Children
The program provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to participants in supplemental food programs such as WIC or SNAP, and expands awareness of, use of and sales at farmers’ markets. Read more
July 24 Webinar: A Focus on Starting Early
Thanks to all who joined Friday's webinar, "A Focus on Starting Early." This page features the audio recording and accompanying slides from the discussion. Sign up here to be notified about the next two webinars in this three-part series on the Commission's recommendations.
Income Is Linked With Health Regardless of Racial or Ethnic Group
For children in the United States, differences in general health status by income do not simply reflect differences by race or ethnicity. Both income and racial or ethnic group are important for health.
United States: Social Factors Affecting Children’s Health
In the United States, health during childhood is powerfully linked with social factors, including the income and education levels of a child’s family and his or her racial or ethnic group.