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Building a Better Future for our Children

Posted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Food and Nutrition
Aug 03, 2015

We know that making sure our children have access to a good education and nutritious food helps put them on a path to success. Building a strong foundation for our nation’s youth means ensuring they have all the tools in place to grow up healthy and strong. However, too many American children live in households where healthy food is not always available. In remote areas especially, families still often face barriers to getting the education and healthcare that they need.  That’s why USDA invests in initiatives that boost nutrition, invest in important rural infrastructure, like schools, hospitals and farmers markets, and help our nation’s rural families access crucial resources they need to give their kids a strong start to life.

Because the importance of a healthy start cannot be overstated, we begin August by celebrating National Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program Breastfeeding Week in conjunction with Farmers Market Week. Breastfeeding provides health, nutritional, economic and emotional benefits to both mother and baby, which is why WIC provides support for breastfeeding mothers.  WIC has a significant, positive impact on the overall health of children and over half of the infants in the United States participate in the program.

Our WIC program also supports families when they go to their local farmers markets, giving them access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Farmers markets serve as an integral part of many communities across the country and enable consumers to purchase healthier foods to better nourish themselves and their families. Both of these programs provide our children and families with greater opportunities to lead healthier lives.

Having a strong community to support our children and families is equally as important as good nutrition. USDA supports the creation of diverse and productive rural economies by providing everything from home loans to financing for infrastructure and business ventures through our rural development programs. Children and families living in rural America have greater opportunities to succeed thanks to these critical investments.

Throughout August, we’re making sure that kids have the tools they need to prepare for the school year and be ready to learn. Healthier children go to the doctor less, miss fewer days of school, have more energy and greater focus, and are more successful in the long run.

During the school year, over 30 million children receive healthier meals at school every day thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. USDA works with schools across the country to provide healthy, nutritious meals, help kids stay physically active and give them the tools they need to maintain healthy lifestyles so they learn, grow and achieve their full potential.  We are working with schools to help them successfully implement updated school meal standards that are ensuring our children eat more nutritious foods and helping to stem the trend of childhood obesity. Thanks to the updated standards, kids are now eating up to 16% more veggies and 23% more fruit at lunch.

Please join us as we share stories on how USDA programs and investments build a better future for our nation’s children and families.  You can take part on Twitter with the hashtag #HealthierNextGen.

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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Thomas Joseph Karwin
Aug 11, 2015

I definitely support federal initiatives to ensure that kids in school receive nutritious foods, plus (ideally) information to help them appreciate the importance of good nutrition. I am concerned by reports/rumors that some kids reject fresh fruits and vegetables, and suspect that this is propaganda by interested parties. Please resist private sector pressures to include processed foods in these programs for kids.

Alexei Choquet
Aug 15, 2015

i agree that processed foods should be totally eliminated from their school menues . as i would not wish some of their contents on my worst enemies.(even though i have a poverty line income and pay 1/3 of my income in taxes with no public assistance information on a balanced diet should certainly be mae avaliable to schol children and their families although That should come out of schools existing physical education/ health education budgets. curriculum budgets menue choices should be offered to avoid requiring religious groups to either impose their special prohibitions on others and to allow them to observe their traditions.I am most certainly including Christian branches origonating in Eastern and latin Europe chief among them. meat should be available , but a vegan selection should also contain the necesary nutriants as well.
Sincerely Alexei Nicholaievich R Choquet... ...