Midwestern states don’t believe in pesticide buffers around schools

Hundreds of schools in the Midwest "nestle against fields of corn and soybeans that are routinely sprayed with pesticides that could drift onto school grounds," but states "do not require any kind of buffer zones and seldom require any notification that pesticides are about to be sprayed," says the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. Nine states in other parts of the country, with California the most prominent, have laws that mandate buffer zones.

Child obesity soared worldwide in two generations

Some 124 million boys and girls around the world are obese, putting the children at risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, said a team of researchers in the journal The Lancet. Obesity rates among youths ages 5-19 years are eight times higher today than they were in 1975 and exceed 20 percent in nations including the United States.

Study: Rural America helps poor kids earn more money later in life

Poor children growing up in three out of four rural counties — especially in the Great Plains — are more likely to earn more than the national average by the age of 26 than their counterparts in cities, says a national study by Stanford economist Raj Chetty. Just 29 percent of kids in densely populated urban centers earn more than the national average as adults.

Perdue names former House staffer to run USDA nutrition agency

Brandon Lipps, who helped engineer $8.6 billion in food stamp cuts in the 2014 farm law, is the new administrator of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees food stamps, school lunch and other public nutrition programs. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Lipps and two senior nutrition officials a day ahead of a trip, scheduled for today, to a summer meal site for school-aged children.

One-fifth of baby food samples contain detectable lead, says study

Roughly 20 percent of baby food samples showed detectable levels of lead, says a report out by the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund.

Bipartisan criticism of Trump nutrition cuts at House hearing

Two senior Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee said President Trump's proposals to cut public feeding programs at home and abroad would increase hunger in the world. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said a high-ranking Republican's defense of the Food for Peace program — targeted for elimination — was "essentially irrefutable" without suggesting the program would be saved.

Pediatrics group says kids and fruit juice don’t mix

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that far from being a healthy drink, "Fruit juice has no essential role in healthy, balanced diets of children." American children between the ages of 2 and 18 consume almost half their fruit intake in the form of juice, but doctors warn that has to stop.

Researchers find glyphosate in pregnant women, worry about impact on infants

A team of scientists this week released early results of an ongoing study spotlighting concerns about the rising use of pesticides and reproductive risks to women and children. The researchers tested and tracked, over a period of two years, the presence of the common herbicide glyphosate in the urine of 69 expectant mothers in Indiana.

Cost of raising a child drops by 5 percent in two years

Thanks to lower expected costs for housing and for childcare and schooling, parents will pay nearly 5 percent less to raise a child born in 2015 to adulthood than if their offspring arrived two years earlier, according to the government. The pricetag is mind-boggling all the same, at $233,610 for recently born children vs $245,340 for children born in 2013.

Rural children at risk from pesticides, says PANNA

Children face some of the greatest risk of exposure to dangerous pesticides when they live near farm fields or go to schools near them, says a report by Pesticide Action Network North America, which describes itself as a challenger of the global proliferation of pesticides.