Report: Pandemic waivers helped boost WIC enrollment

Pandemic-era tweaks to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children helped boost participation in the program, commonly known as WIC, after years of declining enrollment, according to a report released yesterday by the Food Research & Action Center.

Dean says USDA will bring standards for school meals, WIC, in line with Dietary Guidelines

With hunger levels stubbornly high and an estimated 1 in 5 American children obese, Stacy Dean, the deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services, told lawmakers Wednesday that the USDA would update nutrition standards for school meals and the WIC program to meet current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

‘Put kids first,’ say advocates in call for universal free school meals

On the heels of new legislation that would provide free school meals to all American children, advocates from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), American Academy of Pediatrics and American Federation of Teachers doubled down on the urgent need for action amid persistent childhood hunger and an escalating obesity crisis.(No paywall)

Child-hunger advocates hope Biden’s expansion of P-EBT becomes a permanent solution to summer food needs

The Agriculture Department on Tuesday announced plans to launch the most significant summer food program in U.S. history, expanding a pandemic-era benefit to feed more than 30 million children over the summer break. Now, anti-hunger advocates are hoping to leverage the expansion into a permanent summer benefits program, a longstanding goal that would fill a gap in food access when school is out.(No paywall)

As schools reopen, the fight over nutrition standards resumes, with salt and sugar still in the crosshairs

School nutrition standards haven’t been updated since 2010, when the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act — former First Lady Michelle Obama’s overhaul of school nutrition standards that mandated more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and reduced sodium — was passed. As Congress moves forward with a long-overdue Child Nutrition Reauthorization, lawmakers and advocates are sparring over what changes, if any, should be made to the food kids eat at school.(No paywall)

Study: Participation in afterschool nutrition programs was rising before pandemic

Even before the pandemic, participation in Afterschool Nutrition Programs was on the rise, according to a report released today from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). The findings highlight the need to ensure meal access when kids aren’t in school, particularly as the pandemic drags on.(No paywall)

One in five children are obese, says report

Childhood obesity continues to rise in the United States, reaching 19.3 percent at latest measurement, up by 5 percentage points for children ages 2-19 in two decades, said the annual State of Childhood Obesity report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Obesity “continues to be a national …

Advocates push to make WIC waivers permanent

Last week, the USDA extended a series of flexibilities in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children for the duration of the Covid-19 public health emergency. The waivers for the program, commonly known as WIC, have allowed participants to apply for benefits remotely rather than in person, and expanded both pickup options and the scope of eligible products. (No paywall)

USDA finally extends WIC pandemic waivers, just a week before they were to expire

The USDA on Monday extended a series of flexibilities in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children for the duration of the Covid-19 public health emergency. Pandemic-related waivers for the program, commonly known as WIC, have allowed participants to apply for benefits remotely, expanded pick-up options, and broadened the scope of eligible products.

Q&A: Bettina Elias Siegel, author of ‘Kid Food,’ on advertising, school lunch and food culture

Bettina Elias Siegel’s new book, Kid Food: The Challenge of Feeding Children in a Highly Processed World, is an entertaining primer for anxious parents on the myriad ways that America’s food system is designed to frustrate their best efforts to feed their kids a healthy diet—and what can be done to push back and, hopefully, change that system.(No paywall)