This report summarizes the actions and initiatives implemented since 2002 to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among participants in the nutrition assistance programs. The following areas addressed are policy, guidance, and initiatives, programs, nutrition education and promotion, collaboration and coordination, grants, reports, and emerging initiatives and resources.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published “The WIC Vendor Management Study, 1998” in July 2001 which examined, in part, the extent to which retail grocers, defined as “vendors” in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), were violating program rules and regulations. The 1998 study is a follow-up to the “WIC Vendor Issues Study, 1991” published by FNS in May 1993. From an operational and management perspective, it is important for FNS to know if there have been any changes in vendor management practices from 1991 to 1998. However, as there were differences in the way the data were collected, analyzed, and reported, the findings presented in the two published reports cannot be directly compared. This report presents a re-analysis of the data from the 1991 and 1998 studies, which allows comparisons of the findings.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) launched the Eat Smart. Play Hard. campaign to promote the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) healthy eating and physical activity messages to children ages 2–18 and their caregivers. This campaign is an FNS agency-wide initiative and represents the latest effort by FNS to meet its strategic goal of improving the nutrition of children and low-income adults while at the same time addressing the major public health issue of the increasing prevalence of obesity among our Nation’s youth. The FNS nutrition assistance programs have a potential reach of more than 48.2 million children. Delivery of the Eat Smart. Play Hard. messages across these programs has the potential to impact eating and physical activity behaviors in a positive way.
This report fulfills the request from Congress in the House Appropriations Committee Report (House Report 107-116), which accompanied the Agriculture Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2002. The conference report included the following statement: “The nutritional status of our young people is a matter of public health. The Committee expects the Department to build upon work already done with the food pyramid, and other innovative national and local efforts. Nutrition information should be carefully reviewed so that a consistent and coordinated message is disseminated. Existing opportunities to convey nutrition messages, including newsletters, static displays in cafeterias, in-school and cable television productions should be used to the maximum extent possible. The committee directs the Department to provide a report regarding the development and implementation of this effort by February 1, 2002."
This report fulfills a Congressional request for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to report on "a comprehensive, integrated approach to nutrition education as a complement to the various nutrition assistance programs." FNS reviewed its current nutrition education efforts, and consulted with a wide range of nutrition education experts and stakeholders.
The advance report of preliminary findings for the period 1995-1998 introduces the second installment in the annual series, Measuring Food Security in the United States.