It’s Time to Strengthen the Child Nutrition Programs!
The child nutrition programs – WIC, school lunch, school breakfast, summer and afterschool meals and the child care food programs – are among the nation’s most effective programs for children and they are up for reauthorization. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act authorizes all of the federal school meal and child nutrition programs, which provide funding to ensure that low-income children and teens have access to healthy and nutritious foods. There are several bills making their way through Congress that begin to address some of the many ways to strengthen the child nutrition programs through access, reimbursements and nutrition. It is important to the health, nutrition and well-being of Maryland’s children and teens that Maryland’s congressional delegation show support for these bills. Visit the FRAC Web site to learn more about Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization, including current bills and ways to take action.
Maryland WIC Program Food Choices are Changing
On October 1, the Maryland Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program joined other states in enhancing the food choices offered to its 150,000 participants, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). New foods have been added and some foods previously allowed have changed in type or amount. The enhancements to the new WIC food package parallel the advice of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and reinforce messages to eat more vegetables, fruit, and whole grains and less fat and calories. Among the newly added foods are fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables and fruit and 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole wheat and soft corn tortillas. See all of the foods now allowed by WIC at the Maryland Family Health Administration Web site.
State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2009
A new report by the CDC provides for the first time information on fruit and vegetable consumption and policy and environmental support within each state. Fruit and vegetable consumption in Maryland is low, with only 15 percent of adults in Maryland consuming the recommended minimum 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables each day. The numbers are even lower for adolescents, of whom a little over 7 percent consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Policy and environmental indicators include the availability of healthy foods in the community and schools, as well as amount of cropland harvested for fruits and vegetables. Maryland does not currently have any state-level “Healthier Food Retail” policies or a State Food Policy council. However, Maryland does have state-level Farm to School policies. Almost 28% of Maryland schools offer fruits and vegetables as competitive foods. Read the full report (pdf).
Maryland Food Supplement Program Grows at Tremendous Rate: County Data – August 2009
In August 2009 the Food Supplement Program caseload, at 504,168 persons, was up over the month by 12,906 people (2.6 percent increase) and over August 2008 by 122,124 people (32 percent increase). Maryland’s participation in the Food Supplement Program continues to grow tremendously. In August 2009 the largest increase in people participating in the Food Supplement Program in Maryland over the last year took place in Queen Anne’s, Calvert, Prince George’s and Caroline Counties. Download the data.
USDA reports on the Characteristics of Households in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as the Food Supplement Program in Maryland) in 2008.
In an average month in 2008, about 351,000 people living in 164,000 households participated in the Food Supplement Program (FSP) in Maryland. The average benefit per household was about $213 per month. Download a summary of Food Supplement Program household characteristics in Maryland (pdf).