SNAP in the News
Food Stamp Enrollment Dips Beneath 46 Million For First Time Since 2011
Huffington Post. May 12, 2015
Food stamp enrollment has dipped beneath 46 million for the first time since 2011, according to the latest data from the federal government. Enrollment has been slowly declining since 2013 as the economy improves, thereby making fewer Americans poor enough to qualify for benefits. Many states have also begun tightening restrictions on SNAP benefits for unemployed able-bodied adults without dependents, which the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities expects to reduce enrollment by 1 million next year.
Safety Net More Effective Against Poverty Than Previously Thought
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. May 6, 2015
Previous analysis of Census data showed that safety net programs cut the poverty rate nearly in half. Data released recently by the Urban Institute, which correct for underreporting of key government benefits in the Census survey, reveal an even stronger impact: the safety net reduced the poverty rate from 29.1 percent to 13.8 percent in 2012 and lifted 48 million people above the poverty line, including 12 million children.
SNAP Participants Can Now Purchase Fresh Fruit, Vegetables at More Than 6,200 Farmers Markets
USDA Press Release. May 5, 2015
Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced the availability of up to $3.3 million in competitive funding to support the ability of farmers markets to accept SNAP benefits provided through the USDA as a form of payment. These awards will help expand SNAP participants’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods found at farmers markets, while supporting our nation’s farmers and producers.
WIC Works: Addressing the Nutrition and Health Needs of Low-Income Families for 40 Years
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. May 4, 2015
Extensive research has found the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to be a cost-effective investment that improves the nutrition and health of low-income families – leading to healthier infants, more nutritious diets and better health care for children, and subsequently to higher academic achievement for students.
Direct Certification improves Low-Income children’s access to healthy school meals and boosts program efficiency
USDA Blog. May 4, 2015
Direct certification for school meals is a process that links student enrollment records to states’ SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program data, so children receiving SNAP or TANF can be directly certified for free school meals without having to submit additional paperwork through applications.
Proposed Congressional Cuts to Nutrition Assistance Would Cost Jobs
Center for American Progress. April 13, 2015
The House has passed a budget proposal that would convert SNAP into block grants to the states. If implemented, this conversion would result in $125 billion in cuts to struggling families between 2021 and 2025. This proposal would kick up to 12 million people off of food assistance or cut nutrition benefits that primarily serve children, seniors, people with disabilities, and working families by an average of almost $55 per person per month.
In doing so, this proposal would also cost the economy hundreds of thousands of jobs. An updated analysis of a 2012 Center for American Progress study estimates that the House’s proposed cuts to nutrition aid would cost the economy 286,000 jobs in the first year alone.
Low Wages Cost U.S. Taxpayers $152.8 Billion Each Year in Public Support for Working Families
UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. April 13, 2015
Even as the economy has at last begun to expand at a more rapid pace, growth in wages and benefits for most American workers has continued its decades-long stagnation. Stagnating wages and decreased benefits are a problem not only for low-wage workers who increasingly cannot make ends meet, but also for the federal government and state governments that finance the public assistance programs many of these workers and their families turn to. 73 percent of enrollees in America’s major public support programs are members of working families. The taxpayers thus bear a significant portion of the hidden costs of low-wage work in America.
5 things one executive learned from spending only $4 a day on food for 2 weeks
Business Insider. April 10, 2015
Vitals chairman and cofounder Mitch Rothschild decided to take on the challenge of eating for only about $4 a day (about $1.44 a meal) and wrote about the experience on Fortune.com.
EFNEP: Delivering Nutrition Education to Limited-Resource Families
USDA Blog. April 10, 2015
Educators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories recently met in Arlington, Virginia to discuss local implementation of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), one of the nation’s largest nutrition education programs. EFNEP provides limited-resource families and children with the knowledge and skills to change their health behaviors and improve their well-being.
4 Takeaways about the Future of Nutrition Research from the Experimental Biology Conference
International Food Information Council. April 10, 2015
Members of the FoodInsight team share their takeaways on what’s coming in nutrition science and research from the Experimental Biology Conference.
How Hungry is America? One in Six Households Report Inability to Afford Enough Food.
Food Research and Action Center. April 7, 2015
A new report by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows that millions of Americans still struggle to afford enough food for their households. FRAC’s latest study of food insecurity says that one in six Americans (17.2 percent) said in 2014 that there had been times over the past 12 months that they didn’t have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed.
USDA Awards $31 Million in Grants to Help SNAP Participants Afford Healthy Foods.
USDA Press Release. April 1, 2015
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announces that USDA has awarded $31.5 million in funding to local, state, and national organizations to support programs that help participants in SNAP increase their purchase of fruits and vegetables.
A Nutrition Prescription for a Healthier America
Huffington Post Blog. March 26, 2015
A summary of topic-specific scientific findings in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report.
USDA Awards $200 Million for Skills Training to Help SNAP Recipients Get Good Jobs.
USDA Press Release. March 20, 2015
New pilot projects will help transition people off of food Assistance and reduce SNAP spending the right way. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, joined by Labor Secretary Tom Perez, announced the recipients of $200 million in competitive awards to fund and evaluate pilot projects in 10 states to help SNAP participants find jobs and work toward self-sufficiency. Projects in California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington were chosen.
Exclusive Clip from Childhood Obesity Documentary ‘Bite Size’.
Indiewire. March 13, 2015
Taking a more refreshingly optimistic approach to the matter, ‘Bite Size’ highlights the inspiring stories of four children from diverse backgrounds, fighting for their heath, a day at a time, changing their lives as well as those of the people around them. The documentary will be officially released on March 24, 2015.
A School Garden Born in a Food Desert May Change the Way Kids Eat – and Learn.
TakePart. March 12, 2015.
The South Bronx is full of concrete and crime, but in 2009, teacher Stephen Ritz pioneered an indoor garden system that has led to national teaching awards, a viral TED talk, and an invitation to the White House garden plot. Ritz and his students have grown more than 30,000 pounds of produce in a patented, vertical aeroponic growing system called Tower Garden. Introducing children to healthy, fresh food at an early age may be could be the most promising way of addressing food insecurity at large.
Food Stamp Beneficiaries Exceed 46,000,000 for 40 Straight Months.
CNS News. March 11, 2015.
While the number of beneficiaries declined by 11,000 over the last month, the number of households on food stamps increased. The 22,725,000 households on food stamps in December 2014 equaled 19.6% of the nation’s households (1 in 5). In 1969, the average participation in the SNAP program stood at 2.9 million. In 2014, average participation grew to 46.5 million – an increase of 1517% over the course of 45 years.
Depression Puts Low-Income Population at Even Greater Risk for Obesity and Poor Nutrition.
Medical Xpress. March 10, 2015.
Depression is a strong predictor of both dietary quality and BMI (after controlling for other individual factors). The association between symptoms of depression, elevated BMI, and lower dietary quality among food desert residents suggests the potential for mental health interventions to have broader benefits in this population.
Obesity Rates Can be Determined by Analyzing Sewage.
Science 2.0. March 9, 2015.
The microbiome is intricately tied to health. But it can be difficult to draw large-scale conclusions about what constitutes a “healthy gut” because of the financial and privacy implications of sampling large enough numbers of people. Sampling the waste in a city’s sewage might be a good, alternative way to study the microbes that live in the population’s guts – and could even offer a way to monitor public health issues such as obesity.
Transforming Deserts Into Farmland.
Huffington Post. March 3, 2015.
The ambitious Sahara Forest Project is developing cutting-edge food, water, and energy technologies in the deserts of Qatar and Jordan in an attempt to turn sand dunes into farms. The plan: to combine solar thermal technologies with saltwater evaporation techniques, freshwater condensation, and efficient production of food and biomass without displacing existing agriculture or natural vegetation.
How Republicans Could Cut Food Stamps This Year
Huffington Post, March 2, 2015.
The GOP has discussed using the parliamentary process of reconciliation as a way to repeal Obamacare or to do tax reform. Now, some Democrats/food stamp advocates are warning that Congress could use the obscure budget maneuver to reduce food stamp assistance.
USDA Launches Initiative to Develop New Solutions to End Child Hunger.
USA.gov. March 2, 2015.
At the 2015 Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced more than $27 million in grants to fund innovative demonstration projects designed to help end childhood hunger (in Kentucky, Nevada, Virginia, and the Chickasaw and Navajo Nations).
Identifying Anti-Hunger Programs That Are Effective.
Public News Service. February 25, 2015.
There are estimates that child poverty costs society about $500 billion a year in lost productivity and earnings and health-related costs. Understanding more details about how families are really living and how the benefits are helping them gives us a better way to access what can be improved and what needs to be sustained.
House, Senate GOP Looking at Food Stamp Overhaul.
Associated Press. February 24, 2015.
The House Ag Committee started its review this week with two hearings. In 2013, GOP leaders held up a massive farm bill for more than a year, insisting that money for farm programs be paired with cuts to SNAP. The final bill included a much smaller cut, scaling back policy that entitled some low-income families to more SNAP aid if they received federal heating assistance.
Highly Processed Foods Linked to Food Addiction.
The Examiner. February 23, 2015.
The predominance of obesity in the US continues to increase, with more than 85% of adults projected to be overweight or obese by 2030. Certain highly processed foods may be capable of triggering an addictive response, which may lead to unintended overeating. These traits are similarly implicated in substance-use disorders. “Food addiction” may share common behavioral attributes with other addictive disorders.
Better Infrastructure Would Cut Food Waste.
Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2015.
A recent study says we should invest in agricultural research to help increase crop yields. Reducing post-harvest waste by just 10% could lower food prices and prevent 60 million people from going hungry. But building more reliable infrastructure comes at an enormous cost – $240 billion worldwide over the next 15 years. Research is the way to go.
Food Habits Getting Worse Around the World. New York Times. February 23, 2015.
A major study from the Lancet Global Health finds that the world’s diet is worsening with globalization. People in some poor and middle income countries have healthier diets than those in rich ones, but major Western snack and soft drink makers are targeting children around the world in ways that will damage their health.
The Real Bad Egg is Sugar.
New York Times. February 19, 2015.
Experts call for less sugar and ease cholesterol and fat restrictions. Nutrition and public health experts advising the federal government recommended Thursday that cholesterol no longer be labeled a “nutrient of concern” — a designation that for decades has prompted health-conscious Americans to avoid eggs and other foods that are high in the fat-like substance.
Think of Earth, Not Just Your Stomach, Panel Advises.
Washington Post.. February 19, 2015.
Americans should consider the health of the planet along with the health of their hearts when deciding what to eat, according to experts who advises the federal government on nutrition. It is the first time the advisory committee, which updates its recommendations every five years, has considered the environmental impact of food choices.
Obesity in America is More About Snacks than Giant Meals.
Vox. February 17, 2015.
In 1996, the average American ate about 423 calories worth of snacks per day but by 2006 that was up to 580. The centrality of snacking to obesity is a significant challenge for public policy. There’s a lot of focus on chain restaurant portion size, but people are substituting regular meals with more sweetened beverages and bigger bags of chips.
Sugar Warnings Could be Coming to Soda Cans and Bottles.
LA Weekly. February 12, 2015.
California state legislation is responding to skyrocketing diabetes (14%) and obesity (60% are overweight) rates. Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning proposed a law that would put a warning label on the front of every added-sugar beverage that contains >75 calories per 12 oz.
Hidden Hunger: American’s Growing Malnutrition Epidemic.
The Guardian. February 10, 2015.
Some 85% of Americans lack essential vitamins. With hidden hunger, officially known as micronutrient deficiency, people eat enough calories, but fail to get essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Even in the wealthiest countries, shifting patterns of diet/lifestyle are leading to poor nutrition.
Michelle Obama Doubles Down on Childhood Obesity Fight.
TakePart. February 6, 2015.
The obesity rate for children aged 2-5 has dropped from 14% to 8%, but close to 18% of children aged 6-11 were obese in 2012. Speaking at an event in NYC last Thursday to celebrate a new $500 million pledge from the RWJF to fight childhood obesity, Michelle Obama called on those who are trying to block school-lunch reform efforts to improve childhood nutrition.
White Potatoes Should be Allowed Under WIC, IOM Report Says.
IOM. February 3, 2015.
An IOM committee determined that WIC participants’ intake of all vegetable subgroups (including starchy vegetables) could be improved. Because white potatoes are especially high in potassium, increased consumption may reduce potassium deficiencies in children and women.
‘Living in a Food Desert’ Documentary.
RVA News. February 2, 2015.
Virginia State University and filmmaker Jesse Vaughan present a film they hope will make people understand than food deserts are very real and very dangerous. The documentary premieres at the Richmond International Film Festival at 5pm on Sunday, March 1.
The Economics of Weight Gain. January 31, 2015. Medical Daily. A working paper published by the National Beureau of Economic Research has determined the top five factors linked with an increase in BMI in the past decade: added supercenters (responsible for 17% of total increase), added restaurants (11%), cigarette prices (4%), blue collar loss (3%), and higher food stamps (2%).
Nutrition Program (SNAP) Effective for Hispanic Breast Cancer Survivors. January 30, 2015. Breast Cancer News. A culturally sensitive health intervention and nutrition program resulted from collaboration between the Columbia School of Public Health and ‘Cook for Your Life’ (CFYL). Most participants are SNAP beneficiaries. Results: the intervention group lost 2.5% of their body weight, while the control group gained 3.8%.
If Grocery Stores Avoid Food Desserts, Why Don’t We Sell Produce at Train Stations?January 29, 2015. TakePart. Atlanta’s public transportation system (MARTA) is bringing produce to transit stations after a rider survey found that people were interested in “better access to fresh and locally grown produce”. Vendors will sell fruits and veggies in an area of the station where a ticket isn’t required, meaning anyone can shop there.
Kentucky Expands Food Stamp Program. January 27, 2015. WDRB. Kentucky is adding more SNAP educators in all 120 counties. These educators teach elderly and low-income participants about cooking, nutrition, and how to survive on food stamps. The classes focus on healthy, low cost food. The overall cost of this expansion is $10 million.
Committee Chairman Wants Thorough Evaluation of SNAP. January 26, 2015. AGWEEK. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway announced that his plans to do a full-scale review of SNAP without ‘prejudging the outcome’ could be altered if he receives budget instructions from leadership before that review is finished.
How Cooking May Help Cure Obesity. January 23, 2015. Huffington Post. Those who cook tend to have lower BMIs. Research also shows children who dine with their families (even as much as twice a week) tend to have 12.6-13.5% less risk of obesity.
Local Missouri Bill to Impose Restrictions on TANF, SNAP. January 21, 2015. CBSNews. Missouri may pass a bill that would restrict TANF assistance to a limit of two years (as other states like Delaware have done in the past). SNAP beneficiaries would need to be working, receiving an education, or actively looking for a job.
Maine Has Kicked 6500 People Off of Food Stamps This Winter. January 21, 2015. ThinkProgress. Maine is one of a handful of states to make food assistance harder to get, and this situation offers a preview of how safety net opponents around the country are planning to knock about a million Americans off of SNAP next year.
Nutrition Becomes a New Arena for Climate Change Politics. January 21, 2015. Seattle Times. Government scientists have suggested an amendment to the 2010 MyPlate icon, which could be reworked to take into account the heavy carbon impact of raising animals for meat. The stakes are high when it comes to steak, and this is a way to get consumers to think about how their food is produced.
Mississippi Bill Proposes Penalizing Obese Medicaid Recipients. January 20, 2015. WJTV. Mississippi spent $925 million in 2008 on healthcare costs directly linked to obesity. State Rep. Omaria Scott is proposing House Bill 330, which requires obese Medicaid recipients to participate in an online program to help lose weight. If the bill becomes law, those who do not comply with this requirement will be penalized with increased co-payments.
SNAP Benefits in Danger Due to Lack of Jobs, Training. January 14, 2015. WWLP. In 2016, roughly one million Americans (adults looking for work) will lose their federal SNAP funding after their three-month limit for benefits runs out. Congressman James McGovern calls on Congress to increase funding for job training programs so the unemployed don’t go hungry. Those whose benefits expire before they find a job will lose $150-$200 in food money each month.
Head Start Programs Might Help Fight Childhood Obesity. January 13, 2015. Reuters. Preschoolers in Head Start programs start elementary school at healthier weights than kids in comparison groups. Features of the Head Start that may contribute to the observed changes in BMI include: federally regulated quality of meals and snacks, less sedentary time, and structured schedules/sleep patterns.
Tech Companies Build Apps for SNAP and WIC Participants. December 4, 2014. Affect Magazine. Significance Labs, a Brooklyn-based tech company, develops mobile apps for underserved populations including one to help low-income families apply for SNAP benefits. Another group, JPMA, developed an app called EBTShopper that facilitates shopping for WIC participants.
Non-Profit Ramps Up Nutrition of Food Drive Donations. November 24, 2014. NPR. A non-profit called SuperFood Drive is working with food banks and pantries to amp up the nutritional value of foods donated through drives. The goal is to show donors and recipients that healthy eating need not be elitist or expensive with cheap and nutritious non-perishables like canned tuna or brown rice.
Soda Companies Increasingly Target Black and Latino Youth. November 20, 2014. NPR. Black kids and teens see twice as many soda ads as white kids do, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity reports. Since 2010 soda companies have cut marketing to children overall, but increased marketing to black and Latino youth.
Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat? November 19, 2014. Slate. Whole Foods has opened stores in lower income neighborhoods in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, and Newark. While some doubted their ability to survive and compete with more affordable grocers, the company has managed to lower prices and maintain quality.
Planning Starts for Farm Bill 2019, SNAP to be Reviewed. November 19, 2014. Politico. Representative Mike Conaway, the next chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, has already begun planning for Farm Bill 2019 and expects the committee to start drafting the bill in 2017. Rep. Conaway said he wants to conduct a “soup-to-nuts review” of SNAP to discover “what’s working and what’s not working.”
Kids Exposed to Pollutants Have Higher BMI, Study Says. November 17, 2014. New York Times. A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that obesity in children is tied to exposure to secondhand smoke and other pollutants, even after controlling for poverty and other factors.
To Feed the World Tackle Poverty, Bittman Says. November 11, 2014. New York Times. Mark Bittman argues that global hunger and malnutrition is not a problem of supply or of distribution, but of poverty. Virtually anywhere in the world, food is available for those who can pay for it. Therefore our focus should be on ending poverty to feed the world.
Hopeful Signs in the Fight Against Hunger in America. November 11, 2014. NPR. The latest Gallup poll on food insecurity found modest but promising improvements. 17.2% of Americans said they could not afford food sometime in the past 12 months—the lowest level since 2008 and down from 18.9% last year. This may be a sign that low-income families are finally starting to benefit from the economic recovery.
A New Resource Sheds Light on Health Effects of Added Sugar. November 10, 2014. NPR. A new project called SugarScience aims to provide the public with unbiased scientific information about the negative health effects of sugar. The project team, led by UCSF health policy professor Laura Schmidt, created the website sugarscience.org to provide resources for individuals and public health officials.
Calorie Counts on Dinner Items Help Students Avoid Gaining Pounds. November 10, 2014. Medscape. In a study at the College of Veterinary, Medical, and Life Sciences in Glasgow, researchers found that students were half as likely to gain weight during their freshman year when calorie counts were prominently displayed on all items at dinner.
Berkeley Soda Tax May Signal a Tipping Point in the Movement. November 5, 2014. KHN. In the November 4, 2014 midterm elections, Berkeley voters approved a soda tax ballot measure, but a similar measure in San Francisco failed to get the required supermajority. Advocates say Berkeley’s soda tax success could be a tipping point for the movement nationwide.
Weight-Based Bullying is a Widespread Problem, Not Addressed Adequately By States. October 29, 2014. Medscape. Adolescents report that weight-based bullying is one of the most common forms of harassment by peers. Of the 49 states that have school-based anti-bullying laws, only 3 recognize weight as a distinguishing characteristic that puts youth at risk for harassment.
The New Food Scores Database Helps Consumers Get Informed, Make Healthy Choices. October 27, 2014. New York Times. A new online database called Food Scores is one of the most comprehensive food product databases yet, with information on more than 80,000 grocery items. The hope is that consumers will make healthier choices when they have the facts on what foods contain, such as the surprising statistic that almost 60% of the products contained added sugars.
Labeling Sodas with Exercise Equivalents Can Reduce Soda Consumption. October 16, 2014. NPR. A team at Johns Hopkins investigated whether labeling sodas with the amount of exercise needed to burn off the calories they contain (e.g. 50 minutes of running for a 20-oz soda) could encourage teens to make healthy choices. Teens who saw the labeling bought fewer and smaller drinks. Findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Micronutrient Deficiency—a Hidden Hunger—Affects 2 Billion Worldwide. October 13, 2014. International Food Policy Research Institute. The 2014 Global Hunger Index from the International Food Policy Research Institute found that hunger has fallen by 39% since 1990, but 805 million people still go hungry today. Micronutrient deficiency (“hidden hunger”) affects 2 billion people worldwide, coexists with obesity, and invisibly affects population health and development.
$31.5 Million from USDA to Help SNAP Participants Buy Produce. October 4, 2014. NPR. The USDA announced a $31.5 million grant last week for programs that make fruits and vegetables more accessible to SNAP recipients. The grants will provide a $10 match on fruit and vegetable purchases.
Health Complications from Childhood Obesity Carry On Through Adulthood. September 28, 2012. BMJ. A new study published by the BMJ Group analysed the results of 63 studies involving 49,220 healthy children ages 5-15. Obese children not only had higher risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blood glucose levels), but obese children also had a thickening of the left ventricular mass, indicating future health risks.
Successful School Lunch Reforms Take Root in Some Parts of the Country. September 28, 2012. NPR. In fall 2012, more than 38 million kids who get their lunches through the National School Lunch Program saw big changes on their trays. While these efforts have attracted some criticism, companies that make and deliver healthy school meals are partnering with school districts and sharing their expertise and new ideas.
Up to $2 billion in SNAP funds spent on sugary beverages, Rudd Center reports. September 21, 2012. Yale News. The federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) pays at least $2 billion annually for sugar-sweetened beverages purchased in grocery stores alone, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Many health advocates feel that the use of billions of dollars in SNAP benefits to purchase products at the core of public health concerns about obesity and chronic illnesses is misaligned with the goal of helping economically vulnerable families live active, healthy lives.
BMJ Study: Higher BMI in Children Correlated with Less Taste Sensitivity. September 21, 2012. BMJ. A new study from BMJ demonstrates differences in taste sensitivity associated with BMI. More specifically, obese individuals couldn’t identify taste qualities as precisely as children and adolescents of normal weight.
House GOP punts on farm bill. September 20, 2012. CNN. House Republican leaders announced Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 that they will not take action on a new farm bill until after the November elections — a sign of sharp internal GOP divisions on a critical political issue for many members of Congress..
Using video games to combat obesity. September 20, 2012. LA Times. In a recent article, researchers say that active video games like Dance Dance Revolution can help fight obesity. “Interactive health technologies” offer many opportunities for study and trial. They also noted that the gaming industry moves to new products faster than clinical trials for medical therapies; to fight obesity, everyone involved needs to collaborate.
Insurance group to offer members discounts on healthy groceries. September 20, 2012. Washington Post. Humana, one of the country’s largest insurance companies, announced a new partnership with Wal-Mart on Sept. 19, 2012 that will give the more than 1 million members of its wellness program, HumanaVitality, a 5 percent discount on healthy groceries. Both Wal-Mart and Humana describe this as an experiment; it’s the first time a major retailer and a major health company have tried to use financial incentives to change how people eat.
Eating Right for Young Athletes. September 18, 2012. New York Times. Obesity is even an issue for athletes. Today, studies show that more than one in four youth sport participants are overweight, and half of youths who are obese say they participate in a sport. Many health professionals advocate that schools and sports teams provide and encourage healthier options.
NJ Makes Plans to Address Food Deserts Found in USDA Study. September 17, 2012. APP. The Twinbrook Apartments complex is a few miles away from a dense stretch of supermarkets. But that distance is too far for apartment dwellers without cars who settle for 7-Eleven snacks and processed foods. That neighborhood is not unlike New Jersey’s other 134 food deserts. With a goal to reduce that high number, New Jersey makes plans to increase their residents’ access to healthy foods.
Ten Percent of U.S. Households Couldn’t Adequately Feed Kids in 2011. September 14, 2012. Washington Post. Ten percent of American households were not able to provide their children with “adequate, nutritious” food at times during 2011, according to a new USDA Economic Research Service report. This translates into more than 16.6 million children — or 22 percent of all American kids — who lived in households that could not adequately feed them. USDA’s nutrition assistance programs connects these households with access to food and nutrition education, providing a vital safety net for low income households working their way to self-sufficiency.
Health Board Approves Ban on Large Sugary Drinks. September 13, 2012. New York Times. On Sept. 13, 2012, the New York City Board of Health approved a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters, the first restriction of its kind in the country. The measure, championed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is certain to intensify a growing national debate about soft drinks and obesity, and it could spur other cities to follow suit, even as many New Yorkers say they remain uneasy about the plan.
Family, Community Ties Key To Fighting Chronic Disease Among Latinos, Officials Say. September 13, 2012. Kaiser Health News. Many advocates urge public health officials to take into consideration family and community dynamics as they tackle broad health care issues. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute held a panel discussion during their public policy conference in Washington, D.C. called “Diabetes and Obesity in the Latino Community, Reversing The Trend” to discuss the spread of diabetes in the Latino community.
Door to Door in the Heartland, Preaching Healthy Living. September 11, 2012. New York Times. Michael Bailey, a county health worker, spends his days driving around his city’s poorest neighborhood, spreading the about the benefits of healthy diet and exercise. Local governments across the country are creating dozens of prevention experiments with money from the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. The law created the $10 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, the largest-ever federal investment in community prevention.
Overweight Teens Typically Eat Less Than Normal-Weight Peers. September 10, 2012. MSN. In a decidedly unexpected finding, researchers found that older overweight children may actually consume fewer calories daily compared to their healthy-weight counterparts. Results of the study were published online Sept.10, 2012 and in the October print issue of the journal Pediatrics. Cockrell Skinner and her colleagues believe that activity may play a big role in these findings.
Where Cows Are Happy and Food Is Healthy. September 10, 2012. New York Times. Family farms can still thrive, while caring for animals and producing safe and healthy food. Many cows in America now live out their lives in huge dairy barns, eating grain and hay and pumping out milk. But evidence is growing that cows don’t do well when locked up, so now many dairies are reverting to the traditional approach of sending cows out to pasture on grass.
More Choice, and More Confusion, in Quest for Healthy Eating. September 10, 2012. New York Times. Though organic food has long been a rising star in the food industry, growing by almost 8 percent from 2009 to 2010, certified organic food still makes up less than 4 percent of overall food and beverage sales, according to the Organic Trade Association. A recent Stanford report also concluded that when it comes to certain nutrients, there is not much difference between organic and conventionally grown food. But it also found that organic foods have 31 percent lower levels of pesticides, fewer food-borne pathogens and more phenols, a substance believed to help fight cancer. For countless shoppers, the study just added to the stress of figuring out what to eat.
What’s the main cause of obesity – our genes or the environment?. September 10, 2012. BMJ. Timothy Frayling, professor of human genetics at the University of Exeter, and John Wilding, professor of medicine at the University of Liverpool, debate the issue on bmj.com. Genetic factors influence substantially where you are on the body mass index scale in a given population at a given time, and evidence is accumulating that these genetic factors may operate largely through appetite control. If true, plans based on changing the environment, such as banning the sale of supersized sugary drinks, may be more successful than plans to increase awareness through education. John Wilding argues that the predominant driver is environmental. However both agree that obesity is a complex disorder with both genetic and environmental causes.
Food stamp growth started before Obama took office. September 7, 2012. Washington Post. Although the food stamp program hit an all-time high this summer of 46.7 million individuals in June, Cato Institute’s Tad DeHaven says the trajectory can be traced back to the 2002 farm bill passed by a Republican-controlled House and signed by President George W. Bush.
Disaster food stamps get federal OK in LA. September 7, 2012. WDSU. The federal government approved the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in nine parishes — Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany. The program, formerly called Disaster Food Stamps, provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.
Obesity is bad for kids’ brains. September 7, 2012. Boston.com. Researchers looked at 49 adolescents with metabolic syndrome. The kids with metabolic syndrome had more trouble with arithmetic, spelling, attention and mental “flexibility” than the ones who didn’t have metabolic syndrome. Even more frightening, the researchers saw actual changes in their brains, in the hippocampus and the white matter. The problem of childhood obesity must be taken very seriously.
Food Stamps: Fat Times For Food Companies, Recipients in $72B Program. September 7, 2012. ABCNews. SNAP’s swelling size and cost have earned it fresh scrutiny from critics, who say SNAP is making two different constituencies fat—big corporations and the poor—the first, figuratively; the second, literally. The argument that excluding “unhealthy” items would make participants healthier is not a clear-cut outcome at all. More research, unaffiliated with corporate interests or political activists, is very necessary.
Massachusetts area schools impose restrictions on calories, sugar in lunches. September 7, 2012. Lowell Sun. Chips, soda and other high-fat or high-sugar treats from vending machines or school stores are out this Massachusetts school year, and in their place are more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain offerings, and smaller portions. Due to new state and federal regulations for this school year, calorie restrictions have been put on meals and foods served a la carte, and no foods can contain trans-fat. No beverages other than water, juice, milk or milk substitutes can be sold, and no food or beverage can have more than trace amounts of caffeine, including no added sugar to juices. The Massachusetts Public Health Association worked for about eight years pushing for legislation that ultimately led to the state regulations because there was no uniformity across school offerings.
Philadelphia sees decrease in childhood obesity. September 5, 2012. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A new report shows that Philadelphia was able not only to achieve an overall decline in obesity but also to make the largest improvements among African American male and Hispanic female students. There were similar findings among those with severe obesity. Statistically significant reductions in obesity rates among students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were seen, although they were not as large as the decline among students who were not eligible for either.
Regulations do change eating behavior. September 5, 2012. SFGate. Many people ask if easy to evade food regulations actually work. They do work; regulations make it easier for people to eat healthfully without having to think about it. They make the default choice the healthy choice. Most people choose the default, no matter what it is. Research backs up regulatory approaches, and initiatives based on this research are well worth trying, testing and supporting.
Commentary: Keep funding for nutritious food programs in Farm Bill. September 5, 2012. Houston Chronicle. Money for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and other federal hunger relief programs is designated under the Farm Bill, deliberated by Congress every five years. Proposals under consideration for the 2012 Farm Bill would make significant cuts in SNAP funding. The program is a boon for local economy, and local grocery stores receive dollar-for-dollar revenue from SNAP purchases. Congress, although faced with tough budget choices that must be made to reduce the deficit, still should not cut programs that are needed, highly targeted, and effective.
USDA: Americans receiving food stamps hits 46.7 mln people in June. September 5, 2012. Des Moines Register. Americans receiving food stamps jumped to 46.67 million in June 2012, a new record for the program. The rolls have soared 18.5 million since 2008 with about one in seven Americans now receiving food stamps, a jump that reflects a stubbornly high unemployment rate that has languished above 8 percent nationally. USDA data showed the average person in June received $132.96 and each household collected about $276.50.
10 States that Rely on Food Stamps: USDA. September 4, 2012. BBC News. Use of food stamps still varies widely by state. New York, for one, saw an 11 percent increase in food stamp participation last year. Today, around 15 percent of New York’s population collects food benefits.States with smaller populations participate in food stamp programs most often, particularly in the South, where as many as 20 percent of the population is found to use food stamps. Here are ten states that rely the most on food stamps.
Organic Food ‘Not Any Healthier’. September 3, 2012. BBC News. Stanford University researchers looked at more than 200 studies of the content and associated health gains of organic and non-organic foods. Overall, there was no discernible difference between the nutritional content, although the organic food was 30% less likely to contain pesticides. Their findings support those of the UK’s Food Standards Agency, which commissioned a review a few years ago into organic food claims.
Cheap Health Food: Tips To Combat Rising Food Prices. August 29, 2012.Huffington Post. The USDA released a report late last week predicting an increase in food prices, especially among animal products. That’s thanks to a hard crop year in the Midwest, where droughts drove corn and soybean prices up. Here are some top tips to keep food prices down and quality up.
Why We’re So Fat: What’s Behind the Latest Obesity Rates. August 16, 2012.US News & World Report. It used to be that rich and fat were terms associated with people, not dessert. A portly shape, in fact, signaled the good life. Today, however, we often see the reverse scenario: the leaner your wallet, the fatter you are.
Food stamps don’t alter kids’ sugary drink choices. August 10, 2012.Reuter’s Health. A study of data collected from over 60,000 Canadians suggests that if obesity were not a factor, doctor’s visits in Canada would decrease by 10 percent. The decrease would be even greater if Type 2 diabetes were not considered a separate factor in the study, even though Type 2 diabetes is closely related to obesity.
Food Stamps at Heart of ‘Unfinished’ Fight Over Farm Bill. August 7, 2012.PBS. U.S. farmers have suffered greatly from drought this year, but the farm bill, promising help, failed to pass Congress before summer recess. In contention: food stamps. Judy Woodruff speaks to Daniel Newhauser of Roll Call about Congress’ unfinished business and whether they’ll make any headway before November election.
Obesity Surpasses Smoking in Terms of Ill Health Effects. August 3, 2012.Foodconsumer.org. A study of data collected from over 60,000 Canadians suggests that if obesity were not a factor, doctor’s visits in Canada would decrease by 10 percent. The decrease would be even greater if Type 2 diabetes were not considered a separate factor in the study, even though Type 2 diabetes is closely related to obesity.
Food Stamps Go Further at Seattle Farmers Markets. August 3, 2012. Seattle Weekly.The City of Seattle has launched a “Fresh Bucks” program at their farmers markets, which will match EBT food stamp purchases with spending bucks for up to $10. The goal is to double EBT transactions at each market. The Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance estimates that less than two percent of its sales are EBT transactions.
Rural Lawmakers Launch Effort to Force Vote in House on Five-Year Farm Bill. August 2, 2012. The Hill. A bipartisan group of rural lawmakers has launched a petition to force members of the House of Representatives to take up a vote on the Farm Bill that passed out of the House Agriculture Committee. Speaker Boehner has conversely launched an effort to extend the Farm Bill for one year, rather than allowing it to expire after September 30.
Most Americans Ignore Truth About Obesity, Researchers Say. August 2, 2012. Fox News. A survey found that just 18% of Americans think that environmental factors, such as the ubiquity of junk food, were the biggest cause of childhood obesity. Most are likely to blame parents or the individual. The report suggests that better public health communication strategies are necessary to help the public understand the influence of environmental factors on obesity.
Childhood Obesity May Affect Timing of Puberty, Create Problems with Reproduction. July 31, 2012. Science Daily. A new study finds that obesity is accelerating puberty in girls, which leads to increased rates of depression and anxiety. The study calls for further research into the connections between metabolism, hormones, and obesity.
Health Experts Call Soda the New Tobacco. July 31, 2012. Indian Country Today Media Network. At the July 24 New York City public hearing to discuss the proposed ban on sodas over 16-ounces, public health experts called oversize sodas a “public health menace.” Soda makers have been waging a campaign against the ban, using similar tactics to the tobacco industry’s fight back against research that smoking was linked to cancer.
Speaker Boehner Includes One-Year Extension of Farm Bill in Disaster Relief Bill. July 30, 2012. PR Newswire. The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a disaster relief bill, which includes a one-year extension of the Farm Bill. The bill would protect the SNAP food stamps program from cuts for another year.
Food Stamps in Elmo’s World. July 26, 2012. New York Times. Sesame Street has taken on the issue of hunger and food insecurity after the creators of the show were alarmed to discover that 9.6 million American children under age 6 experience food insecurity. The creators of the children’s television program have not only aired a special about children who experience food insecurity, but have also produced pamphlets designed to help parents talk to their children about hunger and make them feel more secure.
Hunger on the Rise in Maine as Congress Considers Food Stamp Cuts. July 25, 2012. USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon held a press conference in Portland to draw attention to the critical safety net that SNAP provides for low-income Americans. During the school year, 21 million children get free or reduced lunch, but during the summer, that number drops to just 3 million. SNAP food stamps are vital to provide children with adequate nutrition and support all Americans in purchasing healthy foods.
Drought’s Effect on Crop Prices Has Food Advocates Worried. July 25, 2012. Chicago Public Media. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects an increase as much as 5 percent in Consumer Price Indexes of all foods. Heat and drought have reduced crop productivity and escalated food prices around the nation. SNAP recipients may face more difficulty paying for foods due to rising costs.
Strengthening SNAP Could Tackle Obesity and Food Insecurity: Policy Report. July 25, 2012. Food Navigator USA. Food insecurity and obesity in America pose a perilous paradox that SNAP must address to improve health in the United States. The SNAP to Health Policy Report recommends a public-health driven approach to modernizing the SNAP food stamps program.
Farmer’s Markets Work to Entice Low Income Customers. July 24, 2012. New Hampshire Public Radio. SNAP recipients in New Hampshire can use their EBT cards to earn bonus tokens that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The USDA has provided New Hampshire with $54,000 for the wireless EBT terminals, and so far, 20 farmer’s markets have been equipped to accept SNAP and provide incentives to purchase fresh produce.
Hearing on Proposed NYC Sugary Drink Ban. July 24, 2012. Time Magazine. A public hearing is set for today, July 24, for New Yorkers to have their say on Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces served in restaurants, movie theaters, and other venues. This year an estimated 5,800 New Yorkers will die because they are overweight or obese, and the obesity epidemic costs the city $4 billion annually. Sugary drinks are a major contributing factor in the obesity epidemic.
In Defense of Food Stamps. July 23, 2012. The Atlantic. We must remember that SNAP food stamps are a critical safety net for ordinary Americans in times of economic crisis. In 2020, the program lifted 3.9 million Americans, including 1.7 million children, out of poverty. The author suggests that SNAP participants’ diets are similar to the average American, and they should not be marginalized by having nutritional guidelines placed upon their purchases. SNAP to Health instead believes that we are doing a disservice to low-income Americans by not improving their health through nutritional incentives.
Severely Obese Children’s Hearts Already in Danger. July 23, 2012. BBC News. A new report finds that 62% of obese children under age 12 already have one or more cardiovascular risk factors. This may lead to increased instances of cardiovascular disease in young adulthood.
US Poverty on Track to Rise to Highest Since 1960s. July 23, 2012. Huffington Post. The economic recession has shrunk America’s middle class and the poverty rate has risen to approximately 15.7%, meaning that 47 million Americans, or 1 in 6, live in poverty. Without food stamps and tax credits, and additional 9 million people would count as living in poverty.
Big Jump in Food Stamp Enrollment Drives Farm Bill Debate. July 22, 2012. The Oregonian. Oregon has seen a massive increase in SNAP enrollment as a result of the economic recession, with a record 814,460 individuals enrolled, up from just 35,500 in June 2011. The proposed Congressional cuts to the program would mean that approximately 93,000 Oregonians would no longer be eligible for the program, and about 65,000 households would have their monthly benefits cut.
Health Groups Call on Surgeon General for Report on Sugary Drinks. July 20, 2012. Food Safety News. A coalition of more than 100 health organizations and experts led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest have penned a letter to the United States Surgeon General calling for a study and report addressing the link between obesity and sugary beverages. The letter notes that for each additional sugary drink consumed per day, a child’s risk of being overweight increases by 60 percent.
SNAP to Health Policy Recommendations. July 19, 2012. Healthy Farms, Healthy People. The July 18 SNAP to Health Capitol Hill Briefing brought together top public health experts and key legislators who are fighting to preserve SNAP and incorporate nutrition into the program. The ten key SNAP to Health Recommendations identify strategies to improve the health of program participants and promote nutrition in the United States.
Just Released: The Official SNAP to Health Policy Report and Executive Summary for Download. July 19, 2012. SNAPtoHealth.org. The official SNAP to Health Policy Report and Executive Summary are now available for download, as follow-up to the July 18 SNAP to Health Capitol Hill Briefing.
Farm Bill Budget Cuts Mean Millions of Americans Will Go Hungry. July 19, 2012. The Guardian. Almost three in five SNAP recipients are children or seniors, and the proposed $16.5 billion in cuts to the program would affect 2 to 3 million Americans.
New CSPC Study by Top Health Experts Points to Need for SNAP (Food Stamp Program) to Tackle Obesity Crisis in Addition to Food Insecurity. July 18, 2012. MarketWatch. Official press release from the SNAP to Health July 18 Capitol Hill Briefing. Leading public health experts today released the most comprehensive study on the food stamps program to date: SNAP to Health: A Fresh Approach to Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The report underscores the need to incorporate nutritional goals into the SNAP food stamps program in order to address both food insecurity and obesity, while emphasizing that it is critical to preserve this important safety net for low-income Americans.
The Economic Case for Food Stamps. July 18, 2012. The Atlantic. Research demonstrates that SNAP not only provides an invaluable safety net for low income Americans, but it also pays for itself and even grows the economy. Every $1 spend in SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in GDP. A recent study found that 75 percent of Americans support national nutrition incentives that would double SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets.
Investing in our children is investing in our future. July 18, 2012. The Hill. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro writes about the critical importance of supporting children in the United States, 1 in 5 of whom are living in poverty. These children will earn less than $19,000 per year and are 20 percent more likely than their more affluent peers to suffer from health problems. 21 million of the 46 million Americans enrolled in SNAP are children. Federal food assistance raised 4.5 million Americans out of poverty in 2009, including 2 million children.
Coke, Pepsi, others launch assault against NYC beverage ban. July 18, 2012. U.S.A. Today. Soft drink makers have launched a marketing and public relations assault against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed limit on sugary beverages over 16- ounces sold in restaurants. The soda makers have a lot to lose: fountain drinks are typically marked up 10 to 15 times above cost, and therefore are big moneymakers. The Board of Health in New York will vote on Bloomberg’s proposal, and if enacted, it would take effect as early as March 2013.
A Fresh Look at What School Menus Can Be. July 17, 2012. New York Times. New federal Department of Agriculture standards for school meals take effect this month, including a calorie and sodium limit for meals; a requirement that all milk be 1% or non-fat; a phase-in of whole grains; and increased servings of fruits and vegetables. Nutritious, locally grown foods are beginning to replace processed foods in school cafeterias across the country.
Sports Promote Healthy Weight in Teenagers. July 17, 2012. New York Times. A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that teenagers can substantially reduce their risk of being overweight or obese by walking or biking to school, and playing at least one team sport. Children who walk or bike to school at least 4 days a week are 22 percent less likely to be obese than their peers. A $100 million federal program, Safe Routes to School, is helping to establish pedestrian-friendly paths that students can use in order to promote physical activity among youth.
Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress and Public Health Experts Issue Call to Protect and Strengthen SNAP as a 21st Century Nutrition Program. July 16, 2012. Reuters. Press release about the SNAP to Health Capitol Hill Briefing. Join us Wednesday, July 18, to discuss our fresh approach to modernize and strengthen the SNAP food stamps program.
Efforts to Tackle Global Obesity Shaping a New Investment Megatrend. July 16, 2012. Businessweek. A new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research finds that increasing efforts to reduce obesity and its cost burden will become an important new investment theme in the coming decades. Medical costs to treat obesity in the United States are estimated at $190 billion annually. Investments in companies related to food, pharmaceuticals, sports equipment, and commercial weight loss are not only lucrative but could also contribute to reducing obesity worldwide.
American Beverage Association sponsors conference on obesity in minorities? July 13, 2012. Food Politics. Today, a focus on obesity conference is taking place in Washington, DC, organized by The Root and sponsored by the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, HBO, and the American Beverage Association (ABA). The sponsorship by the ABA has interested public health experts, as members of this group direct marketing of their products to Black Americans, according to a Yale Rudd Center Study.
Feeding America Warns That House Cuts to the SNAP (Food Stamp) Program Will Put Millions at Risk of Hunger. July 12, 2012. Food and Drink. The hunger-relief charity Feeding America warns that the food assistance cuts proposed in the House Agriculture Committee version of the Farm Bill would cause 2 to 3 million Americans to lose their SNAP benefits entirely and almost 300,000 children to lose their free school meals.
House Agriculture Committee Agrees on Farm Bill. July 12, 2012. New York Times. With a vote of 35 to 11, the House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill early in the morning on July 12. The bill would cut about $16.5 billion in food stamp spending, which is $12 billion more than the cuts proposed in the Senate version of the bill. To get a Farm Bill passed before the November election, differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill will have to be reconciled before the current Farm Bill expires on September 30.
Newly Identified ‘Beige Fat’ Cells Could Help Fight Obesity. July 11, 2012. ABC News. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified a new type of fat cell that burns calories. With more research, this type of fat cell might lead to new treatments for diabetes and obesity.
Protect child nutrition. July 11, 2012. Journal Star. In an opinion piece in this Nebraskan daily, the executive director of Voices for Children in Nebraska explains the vital nature of SNAP for children’s nutrition.
Speaker Boehner might block farm bill. July 11, 2012. As the House Agriculture Committee marks up the Farm Bill, lobbyists are speculating about the likelihood that the bill will reach the House floor.
Food stamps big issue as House Agriculture Committee takes up farm bill. July 11, 2012. Washington Post. Today and tomorrow, the House Agriculture Committee will consider dozens of amendments to the Farm Bill. A partisan rift has developed over cuts to food stamps, and House Democrats are threatening to fight hard if the bill reaches the House floor with its current level of SNAP cuts intact.
Why are food stamps part of the farm bill? July 11, 2012. Marketplace. According to this video clip, federal food assistance programs are part of the Farm Bill for political reasons. Members of Congress from farm states need a source of connection to legislators from urban areas, so these legislators will support agricultural subsidies.
Malnutrition: House farm bill goes the wrong way. July 10, 2012. Salt Lake Tribune. Discussing the relationship between obesity and agricultural policies, this opinion piece argues that the House version of the Farm Bill does too little to change the status quo of federal support for the oversupply of grains.
Despite Obesity Concerns, Gym Classes Are Cut. July 10, 2012. New York Times. Across the nation, school students of all ages spend little to no time in physical education classes. Budget cuts and pressure to spend time in class to raise standardized test scores are common reasons cited to explain this lack of physical education. However, physical education should be valued both for fighting obesity and for its potential value in raising academic outcomes.
Jim Clyburn denounces food stamp cuts. July 10, 2012. Politico. Representative Jim Clyburn, known for his support of rural and agricultural programs, has spoken out about proposed cuts to SNAP. Given his standing in the House, Clyburn could serve as “a bridge to some compromise.”
Thought the Senate’s Food Stamp Cuts Were Bad? The House Version is Worse. July 10, 2012. Atlantic. Nutrition and policy expert Marion Nestle looks at the politics behind the House version of the Farm Bill.
Food-Stamps Fight, Elections Combine to Slow Farm Law. July 10, 2012. Businessweek. Some analysts and lobbyists believe that House leadership will look to delay consideration of the Farm Bill until after the November election, when Republicans may regain control of the Senate. In order for there to be enough time to reconcile a House version of the Farm Bill with the Senate-passed one, the House would need to pass the Bill this month. However, the Farm Bill will compete for House floor time with other priority pieces of legislation, like a potential vote to repeal the healthcare law and appropriations legislation.
Obesity vaccine takes a step forward. July 9, 2012. Los Angeles Times. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology points to the potential promise of a vaccine that would reset the body’s metabolism, facilitating weight loss.
A fight against sugary drinks, far from the streets of New York. July 9, 2012. Morris Daily Herald. In the Bay Area suburb of Richmond, California, a local councilman is taking on the fight against sugar-sweetened beverages. Councilman Jeff Ritterman has proposed a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on drinks containing added sugars.
Childhood Obesity Challenge Launched by American Journal of Preventive Medicine. July 9, 2012. Medical News Today. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are holding a competition for the best ideas in combating the childhood obesity epidemic. Individuals and teams from any sector are invited to participate, and proposals will be accepted through August 15.
People need more food stamps in bad economy. July 9, 2012. Syracuse. The executive director of Hunger Action Network of New York State writes on the disappointments in both the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill. New Yorkers who
Food Stamps: More Benefit to Big Food than to the Poor? July 9, 2012. Time. This article presents a recent study of how big businesses, particularly the food retail industry, benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It also discusses the recommendations of public health experts to improve the nutritional emphasis of the program.
Tips for anti-obesity initiatives in communities. July 9, 2012. Boston Globe. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has assembled a blueprint for community initiatives to combat the obesity epidemic. The CDC’s recommendations include implementing smaller portion-size options and improving access to water, fruits, and vegetables in venues including child care centers, parks, playgrounds, and city and county buildings.
Rep. Peterson’s compromise 2012 farm bill plows rift into House Democrats. July 8, 2012. The Hill. Liberal Democrats are upset with the $16 million in food stamp cuts to which Rep. Collin Peterson, the leading Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, agreed. While Rep. Peterson believes that much of the cuts will be restored in conference with the Senate, a group of House Democrats disapprove of his strategy.
Anti-poverty activists denounce House farm bill. July 5, 2012. The Hill. Anti-poverty activists, including the group Feeding America, have denounced the food stamp cuts in the House farm bill. Feeding America estimates that three million individuals will lose their SNAP benefits under the proposal. Oxfam criticized the bill for farm subsidies that will damage farmers in low-income countries.
Fewer public schools selling sugary drinks. July 5, 2012. Reuters. A recent study from the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago indicates that fewer elementary school students can purchase sugar-sweetened beverages at public schools than a few years ago. The Institute of Medicine recommends that only water, 100 percent juice, or low-fat or fat-free milk be sold in schools.
House panel’s draft of farm bill cuts $35B. July 5, 2012. The Hill. The House Agriculture Committee has released a draft farm bill, slashing direct spending by approximately $11 billion more than the Senate-passed bill. Over $16 billion of the spending cuts come from SNAP, versus $4 billion in the Senate bill.
Making Children Hanker to Eat Broccoli and Carrots. July 5, 2012. New York Times. Through a promotional partnership with the Nickelodeon show “iCarly,” the frozen vegetables brand Birds Eye is directing marketing to children. Birds Eye is collaborating with Partnership for a Healthier America to promote vegetable consumption among youth.
N.Y. faces big hit in farm bill. July 5, 2012. Poughkeepsie Journal. Under the farm bill passed by the Senate, 300,000 New York households would stand lose an average of $90 in SNAP benefits each month. New York would take a large portion of the Senate cuts to SNAP, as many low-income New Yorkers qualify for SNAP benefits through their participation in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Is obesity simply about a lack of balance? July 5, 2012. PLoS Blogs. The food industry emphasizes fitness in marketing campaigns in order to shift the national conversation about the obesity epidemic away from their products. As the 2012 London Olympics approaches, we can expect to see fitness-oriented food advertising: Cadbury, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola are the primary sponsors of the Games.
Congress must restore food aid to poor Americans. July 5, 2012. Mercury News. California State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett writes about SNAP’s importance as a nutritional lifeline to 4 million Californians.
Don’t cut food assistance. July 4, 2012. USA Today. While reducing the national deficit is important, diminishing the food stamps program is not a good way to go about it. SNAP benefits are not excessive, nor is SNAP contributing to the country’s long-term fiscal problems. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as the economy recovers, SNAP costs will decline substantially.
Cancer group asks U.S. to study sugary drinks, obesity. July 3, 2012. Chicago Tribune. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has requested that the U.S. Surgeon General conduct a study of how sugar-sweetened beverages affect health, similar in scope to the Surgeon General’s landmark report in 1964 on the health impact of smoking.
Obesity is often a factor in hiring. July 3, 2012. Kansas City Star. A psychology study conducted by an associate professor at Southern Illinois University found that workplace discrimination may affect the ability of overweight or obese individuals to find jobs.
Lobbyists face crunch time ahead of House farm bill’s release. July 2, 2012. The Hill. A draft summary of the House farm bill is expected to be released on Thursday or Friday of this week. The markup of the bill is set for July 11.
Child abuse may contribute to obesity. July 2, 2012. UPI. Research published in Pediatrics suggests a linkage between abuse in childhood and adolescence and obesity in adulthood. The researchers think that abuse may shape health and coping behaviors.
Obesity researchers study thin people for clues about hunger and metabolism. July 2, 2012. Washington Post. National Institutes of Health studies in Bethesda and Phoenix are conducting research with individuals near their ideal body weight to find out more about obesity and why some people gain weight more easily than others.
Va. to stagger food-stamp payouts to ease crowding. July 2, 2012. Hampton Roads. All of the approximately 440,000 Virginian households participating in SNAP receive their benefits on the first day of the month–resulting in stocking shortages and longer checkout lines. Starting in October, benefits will be distributed on the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 9th of the month, according to households’ case numbers, in order to reduce the strain on food retailers.
What Really Makes Us Fat. June 30, 2012. June 30, 2012. New York Times. The results of a clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association challenge the idea that “a calorie is a calorie,” regardless of whether it is fat, carbohydrate, or protein. Study subjects burned more calories per day on a low-glycemic index diet than on a low-fat diet or a low-carbohydrate diet.
USDA Recognizes States for Exceptional Nutrition Assistance Service. June 29, 2012. FNS Communications. In FY2011, the national payment accuracy rate for SNAP reached a record high of 96.2 percent. Payment accuracy has improved consistently for the past five consecutive years.
The Seven Worst SNAP/Food Stamp Fast-Food Purchases. June 29, 2012. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. As American families struggle in a tough economy, registration for food stamps has hit record highs. The number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients has soared to 44 million from 26 million just four years ago. Fast-food companies seem to see this as a prime opportunity to increase sales. Arizona, Michigan, and California already allow fast-food restaurants to accept food stamps, and a major fast-food company is pushing to add Kentucky to that list.
Civil War Redux in U.S. Farm Bill Debate. June 28, 2012. Bloomberg Buinessweek. To make sense of the long quarrel in Congress over the five-year, $500 billion bill to overhaul agricultural policy, look back in time, way before red and blue became the colors that define U.S. politics.
Are too many denied food stamps? June 27, 2012. WWLP. CHICOPEE, Mass. - Many families are struggling to put food on the table and thousands of them are eligible for food stamps. But some people feel they are getting denied at a time when the government wants more people to sign up.
Obesity screenings for all American adults? June 27, 2012. The Los Angeles Times. Screening American adults for obesity — the latest recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — is easy as pie: Take a patient’s height (in meters), divide it by his weight, squared (in kilograms). If the resulting number is 30 or more, the patient gets the modern equivalent of a scarlet letter — “O” for obese — imprinted on his forehead (well, on his medical records).
More people using food stamps. June 27, 2012. KLTV. CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO – It’s a program that’s designed to help people buy the food they need.
Food stamps: No SNAP for buying sugary soda pop. June 27, 2012. The News Tribune. Should “nutrition assistance” money – food stamps – be used to buy items that have no nutritional value whatsoever and often make people sick?
Passage in Senate sends farm bill to House. June 27, 2012. Midwest Producer. WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts applauded Senate approval of the farm bill and called for swift House consideration to provide America’s farmers, ranchers and consumers with certainty before the current law expires Sept. 30.
How the U.S. Farm Bill Could Save Both Money and Lives in Africa. June 27, 2012. Huffington Post. In Roger Thurow’s just-released book, The Last Hunger Season, he depicts a scene from last summer in Western Kenya in which local farmers were dealt a frustrating blow. They had a surplus of maize and no one to buy it, yet just 200 kilometers away, aid workers were feeding their fellow Kenyans corn shipped all the way from the American Midwest. “Why don’t they buy our corn?” they asked. Farmers in the crisis-stricken Sahel region — an arid band of land in West Africa just south of the Sahara that stretches across Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and other countries — may be asking the same question right now. The perplexing answer has to do with the domestic politics of the U.S. Farm Bill.
Hunger and Obesity Are Food Security Issues. June 27, 2012. Voice of America. he U.N. says nearly a billion people go to bed hungry every night. At the same time, hundreds of millions of others are obese. An activist and author says solving those twin crises depends on knowing who’s wielding the power over food and marketing.
Obesity: Insensitive issue. June 21, 2012. Nature. What does chocolate ice-cream taste like? A simple enough question, you might think: sweet and creamy, with a slightly bitter cocoa kick. Delve a bit deeper, though, and the exercise becomes impossibly subjective, because what you taste when you eat ice-cream is not the same as the next person’s experience. Your tongue and your taste buds are unique, and a sweet taste that seems strong to you might be almost undetectable to someone else.
Doctors urged to be ‘gateway’ for obesity tests, treatments. June 26, 2012. USA Today. Physicians should screen all adult patients for obesity during office visits and either refer obese patients to comprehensive weight-management programs or offer them one, says the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in new recommendations announced Monday.
Doctors Urged to Screen for Obesity. June 26, 2012. ABC News. Chances are you know your blood pressure. What about your BMI? Body mass index signals if you’re overweight, obese or just right considering your height. Some doctors have begun calling it a vital sign, as crucial to monitor as blood pressure.
Experts Provide Insight on New Ways to Tackle Childhood Obesity. June 26, 2012. Market Watch by Wall Street Journal. LAS VEGAS — New research findings on evidenced-based approaches to tackle childhood obesity were presented and discussed today by a panel of national experts at the Institute of Food Technology annual meeting in Las Vegas. The approaches ranged from maximizing food satiety while reducing both calories and portion size to new insights into infant satiety. The symposium, “Preventing childhood obesity: What the food industry can do,” brought together prominent researchers in nutrition, public health, food-related behavior, and product development.
The Farm Bill’s Winners and Losers. June 26, 2012. US News & World Report. After recovering from a deadlock last week, the Senate passed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill on Thursday by a vote of 64 to 35. With programs for crop insurance, food assistance, and conservation, it would appear farmers and low-income families have been well taken care of, but Robert Paarlberg, author of Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know, says some of these benefits are a waste of taxpayers’ money. Excerpts from an interview:
Obese adults should get counseling, federal task force says. June 25, 2012. Los Angeles Times. In a move that could significantly expand insurance coverage of weight-loss treatments, a federal health advisory panel on Monday recommended that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America.
Farm Bill: One down, One more to go. June 22, 2012. Drovers Cattle Network. About all farm bill watchers used the same language in describing the Senate’s approval of its farm bill proposal, “Major change is coming to agriculture.” With a bi-partisan vote, Senators approved the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. Now the spotlight turns to the House, which is planning to vote early next month on its proposal. Expected to be significantly different from the Senate version, some House and Senate Ag Committee members will spend part of their summer in a conference committee to work out the differences.
How Can a Big Gulp Look So Small? June 21, 2012. The New York Times. The average person makes more than 200 decisions about food every day, and most of the time isn’t even aware of it. We may take a stand each morning when it comes to ordering a tall, nonfat, no-foam latte, but for the most part, we tend to consume what’s put in front of us. When we eat out, everything from a restaurant’s lighting to the menu design to the size of the plate or cup influences how much we eat and drink.
Senate Passes Farm Bill With Bipartisan Support. June 21, 2012. The New York Times. WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a sweeping new farm bill on Thursday that would cost nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years, financing dozens of price support and crop insurance programs for farmers and food assistance for low-income families.
Bipartisan effort leads to Senate OK of farm bill. June 21, 2012. The Associated Press. WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday completed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that cuts farm subsidies and land conservation spending by about $2 billion a year but largely protects sugar growers and some 46 million food stamp beneficiaries.
Senate overhauls farm bill, but time running out. June 21, 2012. Reuters. The Senate approved sweeping new U.S. farm legislation on Thursday that would cut almost all traditional farm subsidies while expanding a costly crop insurance program, but chances are slim the bill will pass this year.
Senate bill brings some big changes to farm policy. June 21, 2012. The Huffington Post. WASHINGTON — Briefly putting election-year politics aside, the Senate on Thursday moved toward strong approval of legislation assuring that farmers hit by bad times will be protected and that millions of others hurt by the bad economy won’t go hungry.
Farm Bill Amendment Scorecard. June 20, 2012. Food Politics. Check out the Senate’s website for the latest information.
Food Stamps can purchase seeds, local produce, and subsistence gear. June 20, 2012. The Delta Discovery. As the salmon head upriver, summer feels as if it is officially here. For those who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly referred to as food stamps, here is your reminder that these benefits can be used for self-reliant food activities year round.
SNAP Outreach & a history of food stamps. June 20, 2012. After using my Access card for almost a year now, I realized today that I had no idea when SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program, came into existence. Why I never thought to Google it before, I can’t say. I’ve done some light research into the matter this afternoon and wanted to share my results.
Senate Weighs Bill Overhauling Agriculture Programs. June 20, 2012. The New York Times. WASHINGTON — The farm bill under debate in the Senate would be the nation’s first major overhaul of federal agriculture programs in decades, including an end to the policy of paying farmers whether they grow crops or not.
Farm Bill: Latest Updates. June 20, 2012. Over 70 ammendments to the Farmbill are scheduled for a vote. Check here for the latest updates!
Politicians, health advocates seek transparency, restrictions in food stamp program. June 20, 2012. The Chicago Tribune. On a recent steamy holiday weekend, customers at a discount grocery store in Evanston loaded their carts with bags of chips, boxes of cookies, 2-liter soda bottles and jugs of fruit punch, among other items, then paid for it all with food stamp credit. Although some might be surprised to see “nutrition assistance” dollars going to buy food with little nutritional value, it’s perfectly legal under federal rules.
Food stamps fodder for farm bill debate. June 19, 2012. UPI. WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Tuesday rejected a farm bill amendment that would have restricted eligibility for food stamps to those already receiving cash assistance. The Senate approved several other amendments to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, but eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps — already a partisan issue in Washington – has also split Senate Democrats, Politico said.
Stack of Farm Proposals Is Coming Up for Votes. June 19, 2012. The New York Times. WASHINGTON — The Senate began voting Tuesday on a slimmed-down list of amendments to a farm bill that would set the nation’s food and agriculture policy for the next five years.
Farm Bill Showdowns go to Wire. June 19, 2012. Politico. With a blueprint in hand, the Senate began grinding out votes on its farm bill Tuesday, moving quickly from catfish inspections and wind loans to a classic “black hat-white hat” showdown at dusk between crop insurance companies and food stamp advocates.
Nevada recipients of food stamps may find it harder to fill their cupboards. June 19, 2012. The Las Vegas Sun. WASHINGTON — The number of Nevadans who receive food stamp assistance doubled during the recession. Now, federal spending on food stamps — the largest part of the farm bill being considered in Congress — is set to go down, even as Nevadans’ dependence on food stamps continues to rise.
The Vibrant Vegan Life of an Obesity Survivor. June 19, 2012. The Huffington Post. I am an obesity survivor. I spent the first 30 years of my life either bingeing or dieting; each of those states was sufficiently unpleasant that I’d revert to the other out of desperation. I was not uneducated about food and nutrition. I had, after all, been trying to “fix” myself since childhood. It’s just that a lot of the information I got, like much of what’s available now, was myth-based — i.e., the late, great “four food groups” — or commercially motivated: all those classroom posters from the Dairy Council, all those TV ads about the white bread that would build strong bodies in an ever-increasing number of ways.
Food Stamp Cuts Could Hit Military Members, Veterans. June 18, 2012. The Huffington Post. WASHINGTON — Congress’ push to cut food stamps could cause collateral damage in the military, hitting everyone from active-duty members to retirees, who together have used more than $100 million in federal food aid on military bases over the past year, a Huffington Post review of the data found.
Big breakthrough on farm bill. June 18, 2012. Politico. In a major breakthrough, the Senate approved a sweeping consent agreement Monday night that clears the way for action on the farm bill this week after what promises to be a marathon series of votes on about 73 amendments — including several non-germane proposals demanded by Republicans.
Senate reaches agreement on farm bill amendment, setting stage for final vote. June 18, 2012. The Washington Post. WASHINGTON — The Senate late Monday broke a deadlock that had threatened to bring down a half-trillion-dollar farm and food bill, setting the stage for expected passage of the measure later this week.
Soda, Obesity And Your Tax Dollars At Work. June 18, 2012. The Sustainable Business Forum. Should food stamps be used to purchase soda? Here’s what a U.S. Senator said when Congress debated that question:I do not want to include Coca-Cola or Pepsi-Cola or any of that family. I like them myself, but I do not believe they should be permitted to be substitutes for milk. They are not valuable for the diet. They can be a waste of money especially for young people. Personally, I think it is a great mistake to include them…
Local farmers share thoughts on farm bill. June 18, 2012. Yamhill Valley News-Register. The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, a piece of legislation more than 900 pages long, has made its way to the Senate where it will undergo debate and votes before moving to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate’s farm, nutrition bill offers cornucopia of controversy. June 18, 2012. The St. Louis Beacon. WASHINGTON – The list of issues seems as long as the 1,010-page bill: a chicken compromise; a $969 billion price tag; a pop for popcorn; pork drama; “crop insurance on steroids”; duplicate catfish inspectors; Midwestern vs. Southern farmers.
Congress shouldn’t pass Farm Bill that sacrifices food stamps. June 17, 2012. The Seattle Times. Food stamps are one of the most effective first lines of defense against hunger. Congress should not pass a 2012 Farm Bill that includes cuts to the federal program.
Farm Bill Needs to Help Organic Crops Bloom. June 17, 2012. The Oregonian. In 1990, sales of organic food in the United States totaled $1 billion. Oregon Tilth’s organic certification program was less than a decade old back then, and farmers in some areas had to lobby for exemptions from rules established for conventional agriculture, such as required spraying.
Do Food Stamps Need More Restrictions?. June 14, 2012. The Atlantic. Food Politics–Just as health and anti-obesity advocates are working to bring agricultural policy in line with health policy by getting the farm bill to promote production of healthier foods, they also are looking at ways to encourage SNAP recipients to make healthier food choices. At present, SNAP recipients have few restrictions on what they can buy with their benefit cards.
Senate rejects food stamp cuts. June 13, 2012. Politico. The decades-old farm and food stamps coalition held in the Senate on Wednesday, as 13 Republicans joined Democrats in blocking a tea party-led effort to cut nutrition funding almost in half and shift control back to the states.
What to expect when you’re expecting cuts to food stamps. June 13, 2012. Washington Post. For Republicans, nothing says government waste quite like a lottery winner on food stamps. Democrats have often dismissed such complaints as political scapegoating. Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and ranking GOP member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) have put together a bipartisan farm bill that addresses concerns about food stamp waste, fraud and abuse that Republicans have long raised.
Food Stamps and the Farm Bill. June 12, 2012. New York Times. The version of the farm bill that emerged from the Senate Agriculture Committee contains $4.5 billion in cuts to the food stamps program over 10 years.
Report wants to know how much soda is bought with food stamps. June 12, 2012. Fox News. Reuters–A new report from a California watchdog group is calling for the U.S. government to disclose how much sugary soda and other unhealthy food is paid for with food stamps at a time when policy makers are searching for ways to contain the spiraling cost of diet-related illness.
Living on food stamps in middle-class suburbia. June 12, 2012. CNN Money. Since the recession, persistent unemployment has left middle-class life out of reach for millions of Americans. But few residents of Morris County, N.J., could have ever imagined they would end up on government assistance.
U.S. Sen. Scott Brown joins bid to stop big cut to food stamps. June 12, 2012. Gazette Net. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown co-sponsored an amendment Monday that would prevent a proposed $4.5 billion cut to food stamps in a move some see as an effort to pre-empt Democratic attacks over his support for working families.
Nutrition advocates urge Congress to turn farm bill into ‘healthier food bill’. June 11, 2012. Food Navigator USA. The Environmental Working Group and about 70 food and nutrition experts have urged Congress to turn the 2012 Farm Bill into a ‘healthier food bill’–by cutting crop insurance subsidies and investing in nutrition programs, among other measures.
2012 Farm Bill faces gridlock in Congress. June 11, 2012. AgProfessional. The chance of getting the 2012 Farm Bill approved before the current bill expires Sept. 30 depends on who you ask.
Fertile ground for change. June 10, 2012. Washington Post. WHO SAYS that the Senate can’t get anything done? On Thursday, it voted 90-8 to open debate on a bill that could actually cut projected spending on Agriculture Department programs — the vast majority of which goes for food stamps — from $992.6 billion to $969 million over the next decade.
Virginia to change distribution schedule for monthly food stamp benefits. June 10, 2012. The News & Advance. For those in need, the first of the month long has been synonymous with the words, “food stamps.” That ends this fall. In September, Virginia follows states like North Carolina in staggering benefit distribution for those who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), often referred to as food stamps.
Obama Backs Senate Farm Bill Ending Direct Payments to Growers. June 7, 2012. Bloomberg News. The Obama administration today said it supports passage of the farm bill being considered by the Senate, legislation that would overhaul U.S. agriculture policy by ending direct payments to growers.
Big Cuts to Food Stamps Loom in Farm Bill, but Gillibrand Vows Fight. June 7, 2012. US News & World Report. Senators overwhelmingly supported the the Agriculture, Reform and Jobs Act of 2012 Thursday in a preliminary floor vote even as one lawmaker decried as “unacceptable” a provision in the bill that would cut $4.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, over 10 years.
Interactive: Food Insecurity Rates and the Impact of Food Stamps in Texas. June 6, 2012. The Texas Tribune. More than one in four Texas children lacked adequate access to food in 2010, according to a report released Monday by Feeding America, a charity focused on relieving hunger. In May, 1.9 million Texas children at risk of going hungry received help from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.
The Farm Bill Should Protect Hungry Kids, Not Subsidies for Insurance Companies. June 6, 2012. Huffington Post. The Farm Bill that passed out of the Agriculture Committee last month proposes cutting $4.5 billion from the SNAP program over 10 years in the name of fiscal belt-tightening. Under this current bill, families will be less food secure than they are right now.
Food and Health Luminaries, Public Interest Groups Demand Healthy Food and Farm Bill. June 5, 2012. Environmental Working Group. Seventy leading chefs, authors, food policy experts, nutritionists, CEOs, and environment and health organizations sent an open letter to Members of Congress today urging lawmakers to reinvest federal farm and crop insurance subsidy dollars into programs that feed the hungry, protect the environment and promote the consumption of local, organic and healthy food.
Opinionator: What Is Food?. June 5, 2012. New York Times. Op-ed — To (loosely) paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, your right to harm yourself stops when I have to pay for it. And just as we all pay for the ravages of smoking, we all pay for the harmful effects of Coke, Snapple and Gatorade.
Famous foodies oppose Senate’s Farm Bill proposals. June 5, 2012. Chicago Tribune. Some of America’s biggest names in sustainable food came together today to get wonky and urge Congress to rejigger its priorities on the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill.
Senate poised to struggle with farm bill. June 4, 2012. The Hill. The Senate is poised to begin debate Tuesday on a 2013 farm bill that is likely to take up the rest of June.
NY’s Gillibrand opposes proposed food stamp cuts. June 4, 2012. Wall Street Journal. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and anti-hunger advocates are fighting proposed cuts to the food stamps program.
Las Vegas Farmers Market now Accepting Food Stamps as Cash Payment. June 4, 2012. The Guardian Express. Nevada residents who are strapped for cash now have a better option for purchasing fresh, locally-grown produce.
Real-life Hunger Games in America. June 2, 2012. New York Times. Clearly, “Food for Thought” is meant to help parents (as much as children) who are worried about poverty’s effect on their children’s psychology as well as nutrition. “A Delicious Day” seems to be aimed more at educating children about other children’s lives. Surely, having this literature is better than not having it. But wouldn’t it be better not to need it?
Why Are Twinkies Cheaper Than Carrots?. June 1, 2012. Huffington Post. Who would it hurt if we enacted policies that actually encouraged the foods that are healthiest for people and for our world? Who opposes the efforts to make it easier, rather than harder, for people to make healthy food choices?
Obesity intervention needed even before pregnancy, researchers say. June 1, 2012. LA Times. Most efforts to combat childhood obesity focus on children and adolescents – but perhaps those efforts should start much earlier, even before conception, researchers say.
Farmers market options for food stamps sought. May 31, 2012. Omaha World-Herald. AP — Iowa is scrambling to develop a plan for spending federal money to expand payment options at farmers markets by allowing shoppers to pull out a benefit card for food assistance to pay for strawberries, fresh greens, home-baked bread and other food.
Cuomo halts fingerprinting for food stamps. May 31, 2012. Amsterdam News. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting praise over proposing legislation that would end fingerprinting for anyone who receives food stamps. He said that the policy treats the poor and hungry like criminals.
Conservative groups target farm bill. May 30, 2012. The Hill. Heritage Action said it will key vote the Senate farm bill out of opposition to the new spending in the legislation on crop insurance, meant to cover farmers’ small losses. The group also believes the bill does not cut enough from food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Good nutrition is nonpartisan. May 29, 2012. Houston Chronicle. At least four legislative committees are already laying the groundwork for helping Texans develop better eating habits and easier access to nutritious food … and some legislators are concerned that taxpayer funds [for SNAP] are being spent on non-nutritious items such as chips and sodas.
Food stamps: Not right time to limit benefit. May 29, 2012. The Salt Lake Tribune. The recession may be over, but people who are still without jobs haven’t noticed. When many thousands still need help is not the time for the state to cut back on the basic assistance food stamps provide.
D.C. Watch: Senate to debate farm bill. May 29, 2012. AG Professional. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., expects the farm bill proposal passed by her committee to be brought up for floor debate in early June.
Batali opines on food stamps, Stewart on chicken coops. May 28, 2012. Washington Examiner. Food superstars Mario Batali and Martha Stewart blew into town last week for the Atlantic’s Food Summit … Batali got a little political during his remarks, discussing food stamps and his family’s decision to live off the standard benefit of $31 per person per week.
Drop in food stamp recipients first under Obama. May 28, 2012. USA Today. Three years after the recession officially ended, most of the nation’s safety-net programs finally are serving fewer people, an analysis of government data shows.
Key to More Active, Slimmer Kids: Friends. May 28, 2012. US News and World Report. (HealthDay News) — Could your young child be putting on excess pounds because her friends sit around? A small study suggests it’s possible: Kids seemed to become more active in after-school programs if they hung out with active kids, and the reverse was true, too.
Kaiser Permanente Study Finds Childhood Obesity Greatly Increases Likelihood of a Cranial Disorder that may Cause Blindness. May 25, 2012. The Wall Street Journal. Children who are overweight or obese — particularly older, non-Hispanic white girls — are more likely to have a neurological disorder known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a rare condition that can result in blindness, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.
CBO releases farm bill score. May 25, 2012. AgriPulse. The Congressional Budget Office released its official score of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, S. 3240, today.
Fruit juice targeted in war on obesity. May 24, 2012. Chicago Tribune. Over the past decade, the nation’s war on obesity has targeted some fairly obvious culprits, including fast food, pastries, fried foods and soda. But recent scientific studies and a new government-sponsored documentary that aired last week on HBO have identified a new, less obvious enemy: fruit juice.
Washington’s fad diet: A reality check from state legislators. May 24, 2012. The Hill. At a time when record numbers of Americans are struggling with hunger and we desperately need economic stimulus, Washington seems to be pursuing the political equivalent of a crash starvation diet. Nowhere is this more evident than in the treatment food stamps are receiving in Congress.
War on child obesity: out of the cafeteria and onto the playground. May 23, 2012. The Globe and Mail. Canadian children are suffering an epidemic of inactivity that contributes to rising obesity rates and weaker academic performance.
Hunger is no game. May 23, 2012. The Riverdale Press. We cannot afford cuts to the nation’s food stamp program. As Riverdale resident Frances Segan can attest, food stamp recipients still hunger for additional sustenance each week.
Poll: Government should do more to ensure access to fresh, local foods. May 23, 2012. The LA Times. A vast majority of Americans say they eat more whole grains and fresh produce than they did five years ago, but many believe the federal government needs to do more to ensure greater access to locally produced fresh food, according to a new survey.
New York State won’t fingerprint food stamp applicants. May 22, 2012. Newsday. The state will no longer require fingerprints for food stamp applicants and recipients, according to a media release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Online groceries for all, including food stamp users. Brancaccio, David. May 21, 2012. Marketplace. The USDA has announced it’ll pilot a program with one New York grocery store to allow a small number of food stamp recipients to buy groceries online. Marketplace interviews Jason Ackerman, CEO of the grocery store that is piloting the program—FreshDirect.
Politicians, advocates make an 11th-hour push for a better farm bill. Greenaway, Twilight. May 21, 2012. Grist. Right now, the Farm Bill needs a hero, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow thinks she’s up for the job.
Bipartisanship Is Not Always Democratic. Narayan, Rajiv. May 20, 2012. The Huffington Post. Although the Senate has touted the bipartisan nature of its Farm Bill proposal, it is important to remember that bipartisanship does not guarantee that all stakeholders have had their say.
SNAP benefits surpass ten percent of all grocery spending. May 18, 2012. U.S. Food Policy. SNAP is an important player in the U.S. food retail economy.
SNAP Stories: ‘This Was A Lifeline’. May 18, 2012. Huffington Post. On the website of Share Our Strength, a nonprofit dedicated to the fight against child hunger, SNAP users share their personal experiences.
We Need a Stronger Message in the Fight Against Obesity. May 18, 2012. Huffington Post. Robert Doar, commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, discusses the need for alternative strategies to nutrition education to combat obesity.
Soda Makers Scramble to Fill Void as Sales Drop. May 18, 2012. Supermarket News. Online grocery FreshDirect said it would launch a test program allowing recipients of SNAP benefits to order groceries online.
Soda Makers Scramble to Fill Void as Sales Drop. May 15, 2012. New York Times. Cold, bubbly, sweet soda, long the American Champagne, is becoming product non grata in more places these days.
Why so many PhDs are on food stamps. May 15, 2012. KPCC. The number of people with graduate degrees applying for food stamps or other assistance more than tripled between 2007 and 2010.
USOC joins Michelle Obama in battle against childhood obesity. May 15, 2012. Denver Post. Natalie Coughlin has won 11 Olympic medals in swimming, but the pressure got to her Monday when she introduced Michelle Obama at an event to announce a collaboration between the U.S. Olympic family and the first lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative against childhood obesity.
Mario Batali Food Stamp Challenge: Chef Spending $31 On Food For One Week. May 14, 2012. Huffington Post. The chef, his wife and their two teenage sons are eating for a week on the equivalent of a food stamp budget in protest of potential cuts pending in Congress to the benefit program used by more than 46 million Americans.
Farmers markets getting money to take food stamps. Breed, Allen. May 9, 2012. Business Week. The federal government is spending $4 million to help hook up farmers and low-income customers.
Food desert debate heats up with Mari Gallagher’s response to New York Times story. Eng, Monica. April 19, 2012. Chicago Tribune. A lot of food policy watchers were scratching their heads earlier this week over a New York Times story that said “food deserts” actually offered more variety and closer access to grocery stores than more affluent areas.
Ag Committee announces farm bill hearing schedule. April 19, 2012. Western Farm Press. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) announced another series of hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill to begin next week.
US House panel okays $33 billion in food stamp cuts. Gordon, Wendy. April 18, 2012. The Huffington Post. A study by the Center for Children’s Environmental Health strongly suggests that a common urban air pollutant — Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, PAH for short — could be playing a role in driving obesity.
US House panel okays $33 billion in food stamp cuts. Stephenson, Emily. April 18, 2012. Reuters. A U.S. congressional panel approved about $33 billion in cuts over 10 years from food assistance programs, signaling Republican members’ preference to trim social programs instead of farm programs or defense spending this year.
The Sound of (Media) Silence: USDA Study on Effectiveness of Food Stamps Missing from TV News Coverage. Choi, Jeannie. April 18, 2012. Bread Blog. It has become an article of faith among some policy makers and advocates that poor urban neighborhoods are bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables. But two new studies have found something unexpected.
Studies Question Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity. Kolata, Gina. April 17, 2012. The New York Times. It has become an article of faith among some policy makers and advocates that poor urban neighborhoods are bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables. But two new studies have found something unexpected.
Green Carts put fresh produce where the people are. Black, Jane. April 17, 2012. The Washington Post. Victor and Ferreira are two of more than 500 vendors who participate in New York’s Green Cart program, which puts fruit and vegetable carts on the streets in low-income areas with high rates of obesity and diet-related diseases.
EWG Farm Bill Platform. Sciammacco, Sara. April 16, 2012. Environmental Working Group. This year’s effort to renew America’s food and farm policy through the farm bill creates an opportunity for Congress to do more to support family farmers, protect the environment, encourage healthy diets and ensure better access to healthy food – all while supporting working families.
Do We Need More Advice About Eating Well? April 15, 2012. The New York Times. Does the American public need more information about healthy eating? Or do we pretty much know what we need to about food — and still eat poorly for other reasons, like living in a “food desert” orbeing too busy for “slow food”?
GOP, Ryan budget hits poor the hardest. April 14, 2012. The News Star. The budget introduced by Republican Paul Ryan proposes to fund food stamps at 80 percent of the current level, potentially sending one million Americans — 200,000 kids and 200,000 senior adults — back into poverty.
Food stamps helped in recession, if not in politics. Sarasohn, David. April 14, 2012. The Oregonian. “SNAP is definitely having some antipoverty effects here in Oregon,” says Nancy Weed, food stamp expert at Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “We know it’s lessening the depth of the hardship that these families are experiencing.”
Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Senate Writes A Farm Bill. April 13, 2012. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. The Senate Agriculture Committee is on track to meet its timeline for marking up a farm bill later this month. But the next two weeks are critical weeks in the multi-step 2012 Farm Bill process.
Eligible food aid recipients must train for jobs in SC pilot program. Burris, Roddie. April 12, 2012. Herald Online. An agreement signed into action Wednesday between state agencies mandates that South Carolinians who receive federal food stamp assistance and are able to work must participate in job training or risk losing the assistance.
Farm Bill 2012: ‘It’s a mess, but it’s our mess’. Greenaway, Twilight. April 12, 2012. Grist. Daniel Imhoff spoke with Grist recently about democracy, debate, and the multiple ways the farm bill resembles the Olympic Games.
Poverty and Obesity: Breaking The Link. Blumenthal, Susan. April 11, 2012. The Huffington Post. There is finally a glimmer of hope in the fight against obesity, a critical public health and economic crisis burdening our nation.
Increasing Food Stamp Benefits Could Decrease Family Homelessness in New York. April 10, 2012. The Sacramento Bee. If the benefits were raised to take into account the higher cost of food in New York City, families would have more income to spend on rent. This could decrease homelessness, according to a report released today by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness.
Report calls for doubling national public health spending. Pecquet, Julian. April 10, 2012. The Hill. The United States spends more on healthcare but lags behind the rest of the industrialized world in life expectancy and childhood mortality because the government “chronically” underfunds public health systems, the Institute of Medicine argues in a new report out Tuesday.
Stabenow urged to protect food stamps. Daniels, Serena Maria. April 10, 2012. The Detroit News. More than 120 Michigan and national organizations are calling on Sen. Debbie Stabenow and other members of Congress to protect food stamp benefits as they consider the reauthorization of the upcoming Farm Bill, advocates said Monday.
Food Stamps Helped Reduce Poverty Rate, Study Finds. Tavernise, Sabrina. April 09, 2012. The New York Times. A new study by the Agriculture Department has found that food stamps, one of the country’s largest social safety net programs, reduced the poverty rate substantially during the recent recession.
Playing politics with food stamps. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn). April 09, 2012. The Hill. Two weeks ago, the House Republican Majority passed a budget – embraced by their likely presidential nominee, Mitt Romney – that, among other things, slashes deeply into the social safety net and ends the Food Stamp program as we know it.
Empty calories in costly 2012 farm bill? Smith, Vincent. April 09, 2012. American Enterprise Institute. On Thursday, Julian Alston of the University of California, Davis, will be at AEI to discuss whether the U.S. food and nutrition programs are money well-spent, or whether U.S. food policy is harming the health of America’s neediest.
90 Hunger and Nutrition Organizations Urge Congress to Protect Nutrition Programs in the Upcoming Farm Bill. Press Release. April 09, 2012. Market Watch. ”With unemployment still stuck over 8 percent nationally and millions of families struggling to put food on the table, it is inconceivable that Congress would make cuts to nutrition programs in the Farm Bill.”
Welfare Limits Left Poor Adrift As Recession Hit. deParle, Jason. April 07, 2012. The New York Times. Perhaps no law in the past generation has drawn more praise than the 1990s drive to “end welfare as we know it.” But the distress of the last four years has added a cautionary postscript: a program that built its reputation when times were good offered little help when jobs disappeared.
Welfare Limits Left Poor Adrift As Recession Hit. deParle, Jason. April 07, 2012. The New York Times. Perhaps no law in the past generation has drawn more praise than the 1990s drive to “end welfare as we know it.” But the distress of the last four years has added a cautionary postscript: a program that built its reputation when times were good offered little help when jobs disappeared.
Mari Gallagher: food desert super sleuth. Amer, Robin. April 07, 2012. WBEZ 91.5. Mari Gallagher gets a Google alert every time someone uses the term “food desert” online. That’s because she coined the term — used to describe locations where it’s harder to find fresh produce and other healthy options than fast food or processed goods.
Expectations tamped down for 2012 farm bill passage? Bennett, David. April 06, 2012. Southwest Farm Press. Despite a series of House Agriculture Committee hearings, lawmakers have recently been tamping down chances for passage.
U.S. Senator Richard Lugar’s Farm Bill Would Eliminate Food Stamps for 74,000 in Illinois; 15,000, Chicago. April 06, 2012. The Sacramento Bee. Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana reintroduced legislation last month to cut $40 billion from federal farming support and federal nutrition assistance funding.
Farm Bill caught up in GOP budget battle. Morris, Chris. April 06, 2012. Adirondack Daily Enterprise. House Republican leaders can’t agree on funding levels for agriculture, and that could mean 2012 will come and go without an extension of the federal Farm Bill.
Op-Ed: Keep the SNAP aid program strong. Gutow, Steve. April 05, 2012. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Why are some proposing to cut a program that responds in direct relation to need, supports recipients for an average of just nine months, boasts an extremely low payment error rate and in the process generates $1.79 for every $1 spent?
New farm bill by September? Don’t count on it. Smith, Ron. April 04, 2012. Bloomberg View. “We will struggle with the farm bill over the next few months,” House Ag Committee member, Rep. Conaway said. “As most folks know, the current version expires at the end of September.”
End-of-Month Hunger Hurts Students on Food Stamps. Orszag, Peter. April 03, 2012. Bloomberg View. It’s the beginning of a new month, and that’s a good thing in America’s schools, because life seems to get worse there as a month goes by. Students get in more trouble toward the end of the month than at the beginning.
Do French Kids Eat Better Than American Kids? Le Billon, Karen. April 03, 2012. Wall Street Journal. When we moved to France for a year, my two young daughters were absurdly picky eaters. The lessons we learned in French food education had an astounding effect, converting them into happy eaters-of-almost-everything.
Food Stamp use Declines Slightly. Kohan, Eddie Gehman. April 03, 2012. Obama Foodorama. The USDA reported on Monday that the number of Americans using SNAP fell slightly between December of 2011 and January of 2012.
Four Ways the Farm Bill Makes Me Crazy. Imhoff, Dan. April 02, 2012. The Huffington Post. After years of studying the Farm Bill, I’d be thrilled to see a dent made in four of its most glaring conflicts of purpose.
DeLauro condemns GOP federal budget plan as one that would spread hunger. Amarante, Joe. April 02, 2012. New Haven Register. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro took aim Monday at the recently passed $3.6 trillion House Republican budget that would impose sweeping cuts in domestic programs, including food stamps, but block new taxes on millionaires.
Beyond the 2012 Farm Bill: In it for the long haul. Glickman, Dan. March 30, 2012. The Hill. As the 2012 Farm Bill debates heat up, it is imperative that we begin to look beyond the traditional five-year timeframe that this legislation establishes.
Idaho bill would stagger food stamps. Beech, Holly. March 29, 2012. Idaho Pres Tribune. Grocers are asking Health and Welfare to distribute food stamps — or SNAP benefits — over a number of days rather than just the first of the month.
Local Food Key to Preventive Care, Says California County. Hinyub, Chris. March 28, 2012. Scene & Heard. Before Supreme Court Justices completely reviewed the Affordable Care Act, local leaders in Northern California announced that they are taking steps to implement one of the law’s biggest initiatives – the promotion of preventive care through improved diet.
Dropping Natural Gas Prices Mean Tougher Times for Food Stamp Recipients. Swenson, Kyle. March 28, 2012. Scene & Heard. In April, Ohio will readjust a factor that determines how much food assistance low-income residents get from the state — and the factor is hooked directly to natural gas prices.
Obesity rate climbs among Mexican-American adults. Hellmich, Nanci. March 28, 2012. USA Today. About 40% of Mexican-American adults were obese in 2010, up from about 35% in 2006 and about 21% in 1984, according to new government data.
Why Calories Count: The Cause of Public Health Nutrition Problems. Nestle, Marion. March 27, 2012. The Atlantic. Consumption of too few or too many calories is an important — arguably the most important — cause of public health nutrition problems in the world today. Problems with calories affect billions of people in rich as well as poor countries.
Food stamp program under fire. Prah, Pamela M. March 26, 2012. Boston Herald. With a record 45 million Americans relying on food stamps, states and Congress are taking a closer look at who should get help paying for groceries.
Get Smart About the Food Bill, Read All About it in Food Fight: A Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill. Wood, Jennifer. March 26, 2012. Phoenix New Times. We recently received a review copy of Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill by Daniel Imhoff. It’s a fantastic primer.
Local food movement wants piece of farm bill. Barton, Paul C. March 26, 2012. Statesman Journal. The movement to promote locally grown food wants help from the next farm bill, and two Oregon lawmakers want to see that it gets it.
Who’s Using Government Benefits?: Mostly, The Elderly. March 25, 2012. WITN.com. The recession and drawn out recovery has prompted a lot of discussion about whether entitlement programs ranging from unemployment insurance to food stamps help people in need or keep people from helping themselves.
Two sides to welfare. Mayer, Gretchen. March 25, 2012. Aberdeen News. That welfare abusers exist is not in question. The problem is, they are the ones you see. The majority of those receiving benefits fly under the radar.
‘The American Way of Eating’: America’s dysfunctional food system. Moores, Alan. March 24, 2012. The Seattle Times. Food writer Tracie McMillan provides a disturbing picture of a national food system dysfunctional at its core: from farm to marketplace to dining table.
Food Stamps Are Too Valuable to Waste on Junk Food. Editors. March 22, 2012. Bloomberg. The Florida Legislature just spent a couple of weeks debating a reasonable question: Why should U.S. taxpayers pay for the junk food people buy with food stamps?
Concannon: Cutting food stamp funding would be ‘disastrous’ for Americans. March 22, 2012. Southwest Iowa News. Even though a budget passed by the U.S. House on Tuesday won’t become law – the Senate has no plans to debate it – a high-ranking Washington official still had concerns about the budget’s call for cuts in food stamp funding.
U.S. Underestimates Long-Term Costs of Obesity, Experts Say. Gardner, Amanda. March 21, 2012. U.S. News & World Report. The costs of the obesity epidemic to the United States and the economic value of curbing it are not captured fully by current methods, according to a new report.
Ryan Budget Plan “Guarantees” No Farm Bill, Peterson Says. Bjerga, Alan. March 20, 2012. Bloomberg Businessweek. The budget proposed today by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would “guarantee there will be no farm bill this year,” Minnesota Representative Colin Peterson said.
Feeding America Responds to House Budget Proposal. March 20, 2012. Bradenton Herald. Earlier today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his budget proposal for 2013. Like the House budget proposal for 2012, the plan would convert SNAP into a “block grant” program.
Overhauling the Farm Bill: Political Wedge Issues Slowing Reform. Imhoff, Daniel. March 20, 2012. The Atlantic. Considering everything at stake, it would be naïve to imagine that the Farm Bill will be radically overhauled in 2012, or during any single negotiation cycle.
Farm Bill Could Pass Committee This Spring. Staff. March 20, 2012. Farm Futures. The chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee, Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is seen as being a key cog in getting a new farm bill passed this year.
The Economic Consequences of Cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Thompson, Jeffrey & Heidi Garrett-Peltier. March 19, 2012. Center for American Progress. The importance of SNAP in combating poverty in our country by alleviating hunger was driven home anew during the Great Recession of 2007–2009 and the subsequent tepid economic recovery.
Calories Are Everywhere, Yet Hard to Track. Brody, Jane. March 19, 2012. The New York Times. Americans are having a passionate love affair with something they cannot see, hear, feel, touch or taste. That something is calories.
Added Sugars Pile Up on Children’s Plates. Bakalar, Nicholas. March 19, 2012. The New York Times. Older children consume more sugar than younger ones do, boys consume more than girls, and white children consume more than black or Mexican-American children, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The Food Stamp Explosion. Taylor, Timothy. March 19, 2012. Conversable Economist. For starters, Food Stamps have a new name. The 2008 farm bill changed the name to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
NSAC releases 2012 farm bill platform. March 19, 2012. Western Farm Press. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition released its comprehensive 2012 Farm Bill policy platform, Farming for the Future: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food & Farm Bill.
“I’m on food stamps. Don’t hate me for it.” March, Vicki Jones. March 19, 2012. Chicago Sun-Times. I am on food stamps. This will surprise almost everyone who knows me. I have hidden it from friends, from family, from classmates.
Local food stamp users may soon have benefits cut. March 18, 2012. The Athens News. Many Athens County residents who receive Food Assistance (formerly known as food stamps) benefits may soon see a reduction in the amount of their benefits.
SNAP critics ignite debate: GOP attacks spur response. True, Morgan. March 18, 2012. Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Responding to statements by Republican presidential candidates, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern has urged his congressional colleagues to end the “pejorative” characterization of SNAP beneficiaries.
Senate Ag Committee ready to develop 2012 farm bill? March 16, 2012. Western Farm Press. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held what is likely its final hearing before developing the 2012 farm bill.
Access to more fruits and veggies for food stamp customers. Dr. Tyeese Gains. March 15, 2012. The Grio. With recent light shed on “food deserts”— or neighborhoods without access to quality healthy foods— a new initiative shows that partnering with local farmers can help both sides of the deal.
Kansas food stamp policy becomes a political tangle. Bauer, Laura and Brad Cooper. March 15, 2012. Kansas City Star. Months after a new Kansas policy cut food stamps going to thousands of children, some lawmakers are mounting efforts to help those families.
New ‘hunger snapshot’ survey by Bronx food pantry Part of the Solution shows 36% of its clients skip meals. Beekman, Daniel. March 15, 2012. NY Daily News. More than a third of the people who use a Bronx food pantry skip meals to make ends meet, even though 46% have high school degrees and 19% have college degrees, according to a “hunger snapshot” released Thursday.
Food stamp customers buy more at farmers’ markets when point-of-sale system is available. Press Release. March 15, 2012. EurekAlert! A study conducted at the Clark Park Farmers’ Market, in Philadelphia, PA, has found that making it easier for vendors to collect SNAP payments with electronic point-of-sale systems increased fresh produce sales to SNAP recipients by 38%.
Bread for the World Urges Congress to Safeguard Nutrition Programs in the 2012 Farm Bill. March 14, 2012. PR Newswire. As the Senate concludes its last farm bill hearing today, Bread for the World is asking members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to protect critical nutrition programs that meet the needs of millions of struggling American families.
Pride and prejudice: Food assistance cuts could hit WNC hard. Dombroski, Megan. March 14, 2012. mountainx.com. Looming cuts in food-assistance funding could spell big trouble for Western North Carolina residents, says Joshua Stack, communications and marketing coordinator for MANNA FoodBank
The Farm Subsidy Jackpot. Carr, Don. March 13, 2012. Environmental Working Group. Critics of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program claim some recipients are wrongly receiving benefits after winning lottery jackpots.
Missouri Senate Bill on Food Stamps Targets Immigrants. KQTV. March 13, 2012. OzarksFirst.com. A new State Senate bill aimed at reforming Missouri’s food stamp policy is targeting illegal immigrants.
First lady: Anti-obesity effort not about government telling ‘people what to do’. Cohn, Alicia M. March 12, 2012. The Hill. In a new interview made available Monday, first lady Michelle Obama defended her “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity program against critics who call it a government intrusion.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assemblyman Keith Wright: End Food Stamp Fingerprinting. Bekiempis, Victoria. March 12, 2012. The Village Voice. Only two places in America still require fingerprints from food stamp recipients: Arizona and New York City.
Will there be a 2012 farm bill. Ray, Daryll E and Haywood D Schaffer. March 12, 2012. AgWeek. Will members of Congress be able to overcome their partisan division to pass a farm bill this year or will they leave the task to the next Congress?”
$10,000 state grants available for projects that increase low-income access to locally grown fresh foods. March 12, 2012. North Country Now. As much as $10,000 is available for eligible projects that increase access to locally grown fresh foods by low-income and underserved communities across New York State.
Two area senators co-sponsor bill to halt test. Seder, Andrew M. March 11, 2012. The Times Leader. Under federal law, Pennsylvania has the right to administer an asset test, but is not required to so.
Automation, care help keep Abilene-area food stamp vendors compliant. Bethel, Brian. March 10, 2012. Abilene Reporter News. Abilene is among a handful of Texas communities examined by the Scripps Howard News Service that have not had any stores permanently disqualified from participating in the federal food stamp vendor program in the past five years.
Food-stamps chief depends program in face of charges of ‘scandal’. Wolf, Isaac. March 09, 2012. ABC News. The head of the federal food-stamp program on Thursday forcefully defended his agency’s record of weeding out- and keeping out- store owners busted for engaging in fraud.
Food Stamps Cut Number of Extremely Poor Children In Half Last Year: Study. Safdar, Khadeeja. March 09, 2012. The Huffington Post. The food stamp program reduced the number of extremely poor children by nearly 50 percent in 2011, according to a recently released study.
Wise farm-bill investments could help to boost economy and health. Marsom, Matthew. March 07, 2012. The Hill. Fortunately, a key fix to the obesity epidemic lies with the federal legislation that shapes and influences America’s food supply: the U.S. farm bill.
Ensuring food stamp integrity. Concannon, Kevin. March 07, 2012. Politico. As agriculture undersecretary, I know the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Despite a rash of recent stories about food stamp fraud, the facts are that the Agriculture Department aggressively pursues those trying to take advantage of America’s compassion for people in need.
Calling it a ‘food forest,’ Seattle plans park where people will be able to pick fruits, nuts. AP. March 07, 2012. The Washington Post. A plot of grass sits in the middle of Seattle, feet from a busy road and on a hill that overlooks the city’s skyline. But it’s no ordinary patch of green. Residents hope it will become one of the country’s largest “food forests.”
Don’t blame food deserts for obesity. Kliff, Sarah. March 07, 2012. The Washington Post. A new paper is challenging the notion that “food deserts” — rural and urban areas where nutritious food is difficult to obtain — are to blame for the rise in obesity.
Food stamp usage twice the US average in Guam. Dillman, Meryl. March 05, 2012. Guampdn.com. In fiscal 2010, the average amount of food stamp benefits Guam households received was more than double the average amount that U.S. participating households received.
We need an Integrated Farm Bill now. March 03, 2012. Biofortified. The NY Times recently held a “debate” titled The Farm Bill, Beyond the Farm. I put debate in quotes because there weren’t any pieces that directly opposed each other.
Measure would let drug felons get food stamps. March 03, 2012. Columbia Daily Tribune. Some Missouri lawmakers believe it’s not fair that convicted murderers and child molesters are eligible for food stamps, but people who have been convicted of felony drug crimes are not.
The Most And Least Obese States In The U.S. March 02, 2012. The Huffington Post. The national obesity rate dropped ever so slightly to 26.1 percent in 2011, from 26.6 percent last year, according to a new report from Gallup identifying the most and least obese states in the U.S.
House Ag Committee Sets Farm Bill Hearings. March 02, 2012. Wisconsin Ag Connection. House Ag Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas announced a series of field hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill, scheduled in March and April.
Food Stamp Usage Continues To Set Records. March 02, 2012. Seeking Alpha. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released the latest monthly data on “food stamp” usage. Yet again, the number of people taking part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program set a new record.
Food stamp rates vary racially. March 01, 2012. Caiola, Samantha. The Chicago Reporter. Nationally, far more white people participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program than African Americans, but the opposite is true for Illinois.
Nutrition labels now on meat packages. March 01, 2012. Reuters. Consumers who have ever puzzled about whether their T-bone steak is worth the calories can put their minds at ease.
Do Farm Subsidies Cause Obesity? Shea, Christopher. February 29, 2012. The Wall Street Journal. Agricultural subsidies have attracted ire for the scourge of high-calorie, highly processed junk foods — and, in turn, for the American obesity epidemic.
Court says immigrant food stamps cut constitutional. Baynes, Terry. February 29, 2012. Chicago Tribune. Washington state did not violate the constitutional rights of legal immigrants when it discontinued their food stamp benefits, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.
Study: Kids get more added sugar from foods than drinks. Hellmich, Nanci. February 29, 2012. USA Today. Kids are gobbling far more added sugars than they should, and processed and packaged foods, not beverages, are the leading source in their diets, new government data show.
Senators block food stamp photo ID bill. Sampson, Tim. February 28, 2012. KC Community News. A controversial plan to place identification photos on Missouri food stamp cards was halted in the Missouri Senate on Monday, Feb. 27.
Bill would require photo ID for Maine food stamp users. Russell, Eric. February 28, 2012. Bangor Daily News. Potential fraud could be reduced if food stamp recipients were required to produce photo identification when using EBT cards, according to a Maine lawmaker.
More Fort Hood Soldiers With Kids on Relief. February 27, 2012. KRISTV.com A growing number of Fort Hood soldiers are turning up at area food pantries because they’re unable to make ends meet on their military salaries, according to a newspaper study.
Santorum Plan to Spur Workers by Cutting Aid Seen as Wrong Cure. Lynch, David J. February 27, 2012. Bloomberg Businessweek. Rick Santorum has a remedy for the U.S. jobs crisis: Make it harder to be unemployed.
Michigan Welfare Cuts Forcing People Back To Work Or Straining Safety Net? Ross, Janell. February 26, 2012. The Huffington Post. Three months after implementing a plan to push many long-term welfare recipients off the state’s rolls, Michigan is deeply divided about its impact.
Regulating Our Sugar Habit. Bittman, Mark. February 26, 2012. The New York Times. When Ronda Storms, a Republican state senator in Florida, is accused of nanny-state-ism for her efforts on behalf of a sane diet, it’s worth noting.
Nearing retirement and surviving on food stamps. Quijano, Elaine. February 24, 2012. CBS News. More than 12 million Americans are still unemployed and a lot of them depend on food stamps. But even with that assistance, many are struggling to get by.
Families tackle Food Stamp Challenge, eating on $4.50 a day. Bauer, Laura. February 23, 2012. The Kansas City Star. Families across Kansas have joined the Food Stamp Challenge: Live one week on $4.50 a day per person, or $31.50 per week. That’s an average food stamp allotment.
Minnesota campaign aims to expand food stamp rolls. Siple, Julie. February 23, 2012. Minnesota Public Radio. Beginning this week, you may see advertisements in your community encouraging people to sign up for food stamps.
New Food Stamp Bill in Works. Lundy, Jade. February 22, 2012. GPB News. A Georgia Senate committee met Monday to discuss a bill that would require people on food stamps who haven’t graduated from high school to take educational training.
Cut the Debt, and Focus on Health. Cox, Craig. February 21, 2012. The New York Times. The $5 billion in direct payments the government sends to farm businesses every year regardless of need should be eliminated in the 2012 farm bill.
Bans on food stamps for convicted drug users and using welfare debit cards at strip clubs moving in the House. Kam, Dara. February 21, 2012. The Palm Beach Post. Felons convicted of drug possession won’t be able to get food stamps or emergency cash for poor families unless they successfully complete state-approved substance abuse treatment programs under a Florida bill.
Don’t fingerprint over food stamps. Weprin, David (D-NY). February 21, 2012. Times Ledger. In New York state, more than 3 million people are living beneath the federal poverty line. From 2007 to the present, that number has increased by 11 percent, according to federal census data.
Georgia Senate panel asks for food stamp training costs. Jones, Walter C. February 21, 2012. The Florida Times-Union. A Senate committee assigned more homework Monday to Sen. William Ligon on his bill to require food stamp recipients to take “personal growth” courses.
Changes in food stamp program draw ire from Erie critics of asset testing. Weiss, Gerry. February 20, 2012. Erie Times-News. On May 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare will reinstate asset testing for people seeking to qualify for food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Feeding a family on food stamps is a big challenge. Unruh, Tim. February 20, 2012. Salina Journal. Bobbi Einfeldt has noticed negative reactions as she has used what are called “food stamps” to purchase food at Salina grocery stores.
Long-term poor no longer make up bulk of those collecting food stamps on Treasure Coast. Pfahler, Eric. February 19, 2012. WPTV.com. More former business owners, middle class families and others sapped by the downturn in the economy and housing market need help than before.
Food Stamps: Extreme Makeover. Haspel, Tamar. February 15, 2012. The Huffington Post. Can we rethink food stamps? Instead of nickel-and-diming the program, let’s scrap it altogether and build it fresh.
Frugal Living: Take the “Food Stamp Challenge”. Bailey-Shah, Shellie. February 15, 2012. KVAL.com. Kari Patterson is a mom and self-proclaimed penny pincher who values eating well
Need to Know, February 17, 2012- Food stamps, poverty in America. PBS. February 14, 2012. On this edition of Need to Know, we ask: Why are so many Americans on food stamps, and what does it say about the federal safety net and the state of poverty in America? Jeff Greenfield anchors.
Public-Private Partnership in California Tackles Obesity, Hunger Epidemics. Friendly, Rebecca and Araceli Ruano. February 14, 2012. Think Progress. At all levels of government there has been a serious push for increasing access to food among low income households and fostering more nutritious eating habits in communities and schools.
Is It Possible to Eat Healthy on a Food Stamp Budget? February 14, 2012. Neighborhood Notes. Although our country is technically “out” of the recession, many Americans have found themselves jobless for long periods of time, requiring food stamps to help meet their dietary needs
AARP to help area seniors with food stamp sign-up. Georgia News Network. February 14, 2012. AccessNorthGa.com. AARP officials are holding meetings at two locations in our area to help seniors who qualify sign up for food stamps.
Obama’s 2013 budget includes a smattering of 2012 farm bill proposals. February 14, 2012. Western Farm Press. President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget request sent to Congress today includes many 2012 Farm Bill proposals, including cuts to conservation programs.
Food Stamp Spending Seen Dropping in 2013 on U.S. Jobs Outlook. Bjerga, Alan. February 14, 2012. Bloomberg Businessweek. Spending on food-stamp benefits would fall 0.6 percent to $69.9 billion in the year starting 2013 as employment improves, according to projections contained in the budget President Barack Obama submitted to Congress today.
SPLC raises food stamp issue with immigration law. Lyman, Brian. February 14, 2012. Montgomery Advertiser. The legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center said some Alabama Department of Human Resources employees have asked for the immigration status of undocumented parents seeking food assistance for their U.S.-born children.
Florida House panel rejects food stamp sweets ban. Kaczor, Bill. February 13, 2012. The Miami Herald. A proposal to prevent food stamps from being used to buy sweets and salty snacks died Monday in a Florida House subcommittee.
President Obama’s Budget Outlines Continued Commitment to Hunger. Bread for the World. February 13, 2012. The Sacramento Bee. Bread for the World is pleased that President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal protects important programs for hungry and poor people, creates jobs, and promotes economic mobility.
Hunger campaign targets new poor and elderly. Boyd, Cynthia. February 13, 2012. MinnPost.com. One poster in a new campaign to end hunger in Minnesota features a smiling Caucasian man dressed in t-shirt and sweatshirt. It reads, in part: “Drew Age: 42, Currently Unemployed. He uses SNAP. So can you.”
Arianna Talks Safety Net Benefits on CNN’s Your Bottom Line. February 13, 2012. The Huffington Post. Arianna appeared on CNN’s “Your Bottom Line,” to discuss the growth of “safety net” benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.
Pushing to Keep Exercise in the School Curriculum. February 11, 2012. The New York Times. Experts say physical education has come to be viewed as a luxury as California schools have cut budgets.
How About A Nice Fresh Orange To Go With Your Cheetos? Velez, Juan-Pablo February 11, 2012. The New York Times. Chicago Central Food Mart, a corner store in West Humboldt Park, straddles the northern edge of an area considered one of Chicago’s food deserts.
Still Hungry in America. Edelman, Marian Wright. February 10, 2012. The Huffington Post. Today, crucial programs like food stamps, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and school lunch, breakfast and summer feeding programs continue working to combat child and family hunger.
As Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Push Turns 2, It’s Time For A Checkup. Kane, Jason and Saskia Chanoine. February 09, 2012. PBS. By many markers, Mrs. Obama’s simple goal “to shine a spotlight on this issue in a way that I couldn’t do as a regular mom on the South Side of Chicago” has far exceeded expectations.
In Portland food stamps-for-pizza debate, U.S. government runs hot and cold. Denson, Bryan. February 09, 2012. The Oregonian. Should Little Caesars franchises in the Portland metropolitan area be allowed to accept food stamps for take-and-bake pizzas?
Food stamp recipients battled stigma, pride. El-Hasan, Muhammed. February 09, 2012. dailybreeze.com. Harbor Interfaith’s food stamp outreach program says that many people who qualify for this assistance don’t apply. Some just don’t know they qualify. Others may be ashamed.
Panel narrowly OKs Fla. food stamp sweets ban. AP. FloridaToday.com. February 09, 2012. Legislation that would ban the use of food stamps to buy candy and other junk food remains alive in the Florida Legislature after a close call.
Trans-fat blood levels plummet after FDA food-labeling regulation. Brown, David. February 08, 2012. The Washington Post. The amount of trans fat in the American bloodstream fell by more than half after the FDA required food manufacturers to label how much of the unhealthful ingredient is in their products.
Alabama’s immigration law: Denying children food stamps. Opinion. February 08, 2012. The Los Angeles Times. Alabama’s immigration law has been compared to the Fugitive Slave Act, and has quickly created a culture of fear and shame.
Luis Gutierrez Rebuffs Newt Gingrich’s ‘Food Stamp President’ Claim About President Obama. February 08, 2012. The Huffington Post. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) took to the floor of the House this morning to address Newt Gingrich’s recent custom of calling President Obama the “Food Stamp President.”
Food Stamp Eligibility Guidelines Raised By States. Hoffman, Kathy Barks. February 08, 2012. The Huffington Post. Michigan last year made it harder for thousands of residents to become eligible for food stamps by adopting new limits on what people can own.
State must expand access to food stamps. Editorial. February 08, 2012. The Sacramento Bee. California continues to be an outlier among the states, with one of the lowest SNAP participation rates and one of the highest per-case costs.
Calls for food stamps go unanswered. AP. February 07, 2012. MercuryNews.com. Five out of every six calls to San Diego County seeking food stamps or other benefits don’t get through, and those that do face an average wait of more than 30 minutes.
Halting the childhood obesity epidemic requires support of many communities. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis). February 07, 2012. The Hill. The childhood obesity epidemic requires all sectors of society to come together to help create a healthier generation of kids.
Anger bubbles up in Congress over anti-obesity ads targeting soda. Simon, Richard. February 07, 2012. The LA Times. Taxpayer-funded anti-obesity ads targeting soda aren’t going down well with a Tennessee congressman.
American kids denied food stamps in Alabama under immigration law. Goodwin, Liz. February 07, 2012. Yahoo News. Some U.S.-born children with parents who are undocumented immigrants have been denied food stamps under Alabama’s new immigration law.
Could Taxes and Food Stamp Restrictions Tame America’s Sweet Tooth? Aubrey, Allison. February 07, 2012. NPR. Sugar may be our favorite pick-me-up. But how much is too much?
Wal-Mart debuts “Great For You” seal. Anderson, Mae. February 07, 2012. AP. You may like the food you buy, but is it “Great for You”? Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to help its customers figure that out.
Food stamp fight. Levenstein, Lisa and Jennifer Mittelstadt. February 06, 2012. The Los Angeles Times. Food stamps are good for recipients and retailers. So what’s the big deal?
Reader commentary behavior and food stamps. Choiniere, Paul. February 06, 2012. theday.com. What does it say about human nature that a story and editorial this past Sunday both dealing with the topic of food stamps were greeted with such vastly different reader comments?
Note to Newt: Many Food Stamp Families Are Working. Burman, Len. February 04, 2012. Forbes. About Obama, Gingrich said, “He will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheck economy and call it fair.” The implication is that people receiving food stamps aren’t working.
Mississippi bill would force food stamp users to eat healthy. Land, Monica. February 04, 2012. The Grio. This week Senator Bill Stone (D-MS) presented a bill that would prohibit recipients of SNAP benefits from buying candy, sugary drinks and unhealthy foods with their EBT card.
Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Major Factors Influencing the Debate. February 03, 2012. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. With the failure of the Super Committee process last fall, Agriculture Committee leaders now resume work on the 2012 Farm Bill through a more typical process.
Ad campaign targets those who need food aid. Julie Siple. February 03, 2012. Minnesota Public Radio. A new statewide marketing campaign will encourage more Minnesotans to sign up for food stamps.
Obama is no ‘food stamp president’. Reich, Robert. February 02, 2012. The Christian Science Monitor. One of the few things Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich agree on is that President Obama is turning America into “European-style welfare culture.”
Controversial food stamp test a go. Olson, Laura. February 02, 2012. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Gov. Corbett is sticking to the asset test for food stamp recipients that Democrats slammed as ineffective and mean-spirited, his administration announced yesterday.
USDA: Food Stamp Numbers Down. February 02, 2012. Obama Foodorama. Food stamps have become a political hot potato for President Obama, thanks to GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich.
Food Stamps: An Economic Safety Net. Emple, Hannah. February 02, 2012. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut held a press conference today to discuss the important role that SNAP plays in forming an economic safety net.
Corbett raises limit on assets for food stamps, but critics blast the idea of a test. Lubrano, Alfred. February 02, 2012. Philadelphia Inquirer. Modifying its original proposal, the Corbett administration is raising the amount of assets a person can have to retain food stamps,
U.S. Food Stamp Use Declined 0.2% in November, Government Says. Bjerga, Alan. February 02, 2012. Bloomberg Businessweek. U.S. food-stamp use in November fell for the second straight month as the unemployment rate declined, the government said
Feeding America focused on protecting nutrition programs in Farm Bill. Blog. February 01, 2012. Food Bank of South Jersey. Maybe the Farm Bill should be renamed the Farm & Food Bill, because it impacts every American in some way.
Chairwoman Stabenow Announces Farm Bill Hearings. Blog. February 01, 2012. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Today, Chairwoman Stabenow announced four Senate Agriculture Committee hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill in February and March.
“Food Stamp President”- What’s the Basis of Gingrich’s Claim? Herington, Elijah. February 01, 2012. Kansas City infoZine. Though the original remark surfaced in early 2011, Gingrich has again brought up his catchy refrain on Obama, calling him the “food stamp president.”
53% Favor Fingerprinting Requirement for Food Stamp Applicants. February 01, 2012. Rasmussen Reports. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is aiming to end New York City’s policy of requiring food stamp applicants to be fingerprinted.
Food Stamp Emergency in Monmouth County. February 01, 2012. Atlantic Highlands Herald.