Food stamp nutrition education program

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Low-Income Adults Are Food Insecure: Among adults with incomes <200 percent FPL, the 2003 California Health Interview Survey found an increase of 5 percentage points in food insecurity between 2001 and 2003. More than 10 percent of adults reported experiencing food insecurity with hunger – and increase of 2 percentage points –and an additional 24 percent were food insecure without hunger. It projected that 2.9 million low-income adults could not always afford to put food on the table, while more than 1 in 10 adults with incomes <200 percent FPL experienced episodes of hunger. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates food insecurity in California at 12.4 percent (average 2002-04) compared to the national rate of 11.4 percent (2002-04) (Nord, Andrews, Carlson, Household Food Insecurity in the United States, 2004).

Low-Income Adults Need to Improve Their Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Many published studies by faculty at the University of California have shown that fruit and vegetable consumption practices of low-income Food Stamp families are below the national recommendations (Joy, California Agriculture, 58:206-208, 2004; Joy, Feldman, Fujii, Garcia, Metz, California Agriculture, 53:24-28, 1999; Lamp, West, George, Wright, and Joy, Journal of Nutrition Education, 31:941-98, 1999; Joy and Doisy, Journal of Nutrition Education, 28: 123-126, 1996; Townsend, Kaiser, Allen, Joy, Murphy, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 35: 69-82, 2003; West, Lamp, Joy, Murphy, California Agriculture, 53:29-32, 1999; Heneman, Zidenberg-Cherr, Joy, Donahue, Garcia et al., Journal of Amer. Dietetic Assoc., 2005). Dietary behavior practices have been measured over the last 10 years in 1,447 Food Stamp clients enrolled in the University’s nutrition education program. Published results demonstrate that over 70 percent of Food Stamp clients need to improve their dietary intake of fruits and vegetables (Joy, California Agriculture, 2004). In addition, a number of dietary factors that are also indicative of the need for nutrition education include: consumption of a high fat diet by >70 percent of clients; consumption of a diet high in sugar and low in calcium, and a high consumption of soda beverages (instead of water or milk) among adults and youth (Joy, California Agriculture, 2004). A diet rich in folate foods (which include fruits and vegetables) is also needed in these families (Clifford, Noceti, Joy, Block, Block, Journal of Nutrition, 124: 137-143, 2005).

For California’s total population, the 2003 California Dietary Practices Survey (CDPS) of 1,032 adults revealed that very low-income adults (households less than $15,000) consumed, on average, only 3.8 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, compared to 4.4 servings for persons with the highest incomes adults (households greater than $50,000) who reported the most servings. Low income adults who reported receiving food stamps in the last 12 months consumed, on average, only 3.6 servings of fruits and vegetables. Disparities also occurred between income levels and participation in the Food Stamp program with regards to eating the then recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. About one third (32 percent) of the very low-income adults and one third of food stamp recipients (30 percent) met these recommendations, while 42 percent of the highest income group did so. Among the very low-income adults, 36 percent reported consuming 2 or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, compared to food stamp recipients who were more likely to consume 2 or fewer servings (39 percent). Only 26 percent who ate 2 or fewer were in the highest income group (2003 CDPS).

However, there are indications that trends are shifting in FSNE adults.  Comparing data from our 1997 Network baseline to the 2003 CDPS reveals an 8 percentage point increase (from 24 to 32 percent) in very low-income adults who ate 5 or more servings, compared with the 5 percentage point increase seen in the statewide population (33 to 38 percent). More recent data from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey revealed that the percent of low income adults (household income of $15,000-24,999) who reported eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables was slightly higher than those in the highest income category, as well as the state average (30.3, 29.6, and 28.9 percent, respectively).

There is still more work to be done. While only 20 percent of the very low-income adults had heard that fruits and vegetables help prevent heart disease, this compares favorably with the statewide average of 23 percent (2001 CDPS). Similarly, about half of all very low income adults (52 percent) and food stamp recipients (49 percent) had heard that the then recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and should be eaten for good health, compared to the statewide average of 80 percent. (2003 CDPS), signaling a need for continued education.

The Network Communications Benchmark Survey in 2005 assessed the awareness of the potential benefits of fruits and vegetables in special samples of Food Stamp participants. The great majority of Food stamp recipients agreed that eating fruits and vegetables helped them look and feel better (96 percent), control their weight (93 percent) and set a good example for their family (98 percent).

Low-Income Adults Need Increased Availability of Fruits and Vegetables; Cost Is a Significant Barrier: Like adults generally, low-income adults reported many barriers to eating more fruits and vegetables (2003 CDPS). More than half of low-income adults reported fruits and vegetables were hard to buy in fast food places (68 percent) and hard to get at work (64 percent). In addition, nearly half of low-income adults (45 percent) and Food Stamp recipients (46 percent) stated that fruits and vegetables were too expensive. This percentage is much higher than either the 16 percent of adults in the highest income group ($50,000 or more) or the state average of 28 percent. Similar results were reported in the 2005 California 5 a Day Campaign Benchmark Survey which found that the cost of fruits and vegetables was an important perceived barrier for more than one third of Food Stamp recipients (35 percent), slightly higher than the general population recipients (31 percent). The ability to find good fresh fruits and vegetables was also a barrier reported by 23 percent of Food Stamp recipients (2005 Network Communications Benchmark Survey).

Low-Income Adults Need to Decrease Fast Food Intake: Like other adults, those with low incomes eat many meals away from home. The 2003 Final Report to the USDA (Joy, Benford, UC-FSNEP Final Report, December, 2003) includes results on a number of indicators related to eating out in fast food restaurants. For 3,664 participants who completed the Food Behavior Checklist (FBC), over 80 percent reported that they ate at fast food restaurants 3 or more times a week.

The 2003 California Dietary Practices Survey also found that on a typical day more than half of low income adults (53 percent) who ate meals outside of the house ate at fast food establishments, as compared with 30 percent of adults in the highest income category. This is significant because, for all adults eating fast food, the average consumption of fruits and vegetables was only 3.3 servings, significantly lower than the 4.3 servings consumed by those who did not eat out at fast food places. (p<0.001; 2003 CDPS).

Low-Income Adults Want and Need Help Improving Food Preparation and Shopping: Published results for a study of the food preparation practices of 97 low-income clients reported that most low-income families would benefit from nutrition education. Adequate cooking skills are needed to prepare low-cost, nutritious meals that meet current dietary guidelines (West, Lamp, Joy, Murphy, et al., California Agriculture 53:29-32, 1999). Focus groups conducted before the study indicated that low-income families are greatly interested in learning new ways to prepare foods, especially fruits and vegetables and low-fat recipes.

While only one-third (37 percent) of low-income adults surveyed in the 2001 California Dietary Practices Survey read the food section of their newspaper, most (61 percent) reported using weekly supermarket specials in the newspaper. The most typical answer for frequency of shopping was 3-4 times/month (40 percent), with 33 percent shopping more than once a week and 16 percent shopping no more often than 1-2 times/month. This is compared with the shopping habits of high income adults (household income of $50,000 or more) where fewer people (38 percent). (2003 CDPS)


Low-Income Adults Need to Increase Physical Activity and Safety; Cost Is a Significant Barrier: There was little difference in the reported perceived barriers between Food Stamp recipients and other Californians. Forty-four percent of Food Stamp recipients reported engaging in physical activity at least five days a week for at least 30 minutes, similar to the general population (45 percent). A little more than one-third indicated that they were engaged in physical activity fewer than five days a week and 12 percent were inactive, compared with 36 percent and 11 percent, respectively, among the general population. Surprisingly, the majority (86 percent) of the Food Stamp recipients said they were sure that they could achieve the recommended amount of at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This was similar to the responses of the general population (85 percent) (2005 California 5 a Day Campaign Benchmark Survey)


That said, a major barrier to increasing physical activity was the lack of safe places where Food Stamp users lived (28 percent), which was less of a concern to the general population (23 percent). Lack of time was more of a barrier for the general population than to Food Stamp recipients (42 and 28 percent, respectively). Interestingly, cost of exercise clothes, equipment, and gym memberships was barrier reported by over half of all respondents, but it had a bigger impact on Food Stamp recipients than the general population (75 vs. 63 percent) (2005 California 5 a Day Campaign Benchmark Survey).

Low-Income Adults Disparities in Overweight/Obesity Must Be Eliminated: Low-income Californians, as well as certain ethnic groups, have higher rates of overweight and obesity. The 2003 California Dietary Practices Survey found that 25 percent of very low income adults were obese, compared to the 15 percent of adults in the highest income category ($50,000 or more). African Americans and Hispanics had a higher rate of obesity than their White counterparts (28 percent and 30 percent, respectively, vs. 16 percent). Education level was also significantly associated with overweight status (p<.01). Adults who graduated from high school or had less than a high school education had rates of obesity more than twice that of college graduates (31 percent, 26 percent, and 10 percent respectively).

Poor diet and physical inactivity, as expressed by obesity and overweight, is a significant preventable cause of death. In California physical inactivity, obesity, and overweight was estimated to cost a total of $21.7 billion in related health care costs in California in year 2000 dollars and is estimated to increase to $28 billion in 2005.1 Illnesses and costs from diet- and physical activity-related diseases are known to be disproportionately high among certain ethnic groups and persons with lower incomes.2

Low Income Adults Need Better Access to Fruits and Vegetables: The great majority of Californians (84 percent) report they get most of their fresh fruits and vegetables from supermarkets/grocery stores, while 8 percent report using farmers’ markets and 8 percent from other sources (2003 CDPS). Low-income (<$15,000) and Food Stamp recipients most frequently identified a specific large supermarket chain (≥ 10 stores) as the principal source of their fresh fruits and vegetables.

In California, Food Stamp participants may redeem their Food Stamp benefits at over 17,000 Food Stamp-certified retail establishments, including convenience stores, drug stores and health food stores (Attachment 6). However, the great majority of Food Stamp dollars in California (84%) are redeemed at certified retailers classified as supermarkets. Certified supermarkets are less common in low-income than higher-income areas. For example, supermarkets represent almost a quarter (23%) of the Food Stamp certified retailers, but in USDA eligible census tracts ( ≥ 50% 185% FPL) only 12% of the certified retailers are classified as supermarkets suggesting that most Food Stamp participants must have to patronize supermarkets outside FSNE-qualified census tracts.

Convenient access to good quality and affordable fruits and vegetables is an issue for many low-income Californians. A report by the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College in Los Angeles found middle and upper-income neighborhoods had 2.3 times as many supermarkets as low-income neighborhoods. Similarly, a study in three California counties found only 52 percent of residents in low-income areas lived within one-half mile (walking distance) of a supermarket (Transportation for Healthy Communities Collaborative, 2002). Even when available, the quality and selection of the fruits and vegetables may not be adequate to meet low-income consumers’ preference and need. Of the 1,297 targeted census tracts ( ≥ 50% 185% FPL), 676 (52%) do not include a supermarket, farmer’s market or produce stand.

These realities help explain the findings of USDA studies (Ohls, et. al, 1999) that Food Stamp participants tend to use their benefits in areas other than those in which they live. In addition, 56 percent of California’s Food Stamp participants and 63 percent of persons with incomes < 185% FPL do not live in FSNE eligible census tracts.

Public Awareness and Use of the Food Stamp Program Needs to Increase: According to the most recent USDA participation rates, less than half (45 percent) of the people who are eligible for Food Stamps in California receive them (Castner, et. al, 2005). Research has shown eligible persons often do not participate in the Food Stamp Program because they are not aware of the program or they do not believe they are eligible. Integrated into regular nutrition education activities, Network projects provide Food Stamp Program promotional materials and information about the benefits and about the Food Stamp Program. Given the tremendous number of contacts with low-income persons, these promotional efforts can help increase awareness of the Food Stamp Program as an important potential source of nutrition assistance for households struggling to be food secure.

c. Other Nutrition-Related Programs Serving Low-Income Persons in California. Discuss the availability of other nutrition-related programs, services, and social marketing campaigns (i.e., EFNEP, Child Nutrition services, etc).

Facts and Figures: California defies easy description. Our rapidly growing population now exceeds 36 million people, comprising 12 percent of the U.S. total and being 58 percent larger than that of the next most populous state, Texas. We are home to nearly 28 percent of the nation’s immigrant population, making us the most ethnically and racially diverse state in the nation (Center for Immigration Studies, 2005). Our land mass is exceeded only by Texas and Alaska, and our rich agriculture base is challenged by population growth and urban sprawl. Our local government infrastructure includes 58 counties, 478 cities, over 1,000 school districts, approximately 9,500 schools, and numerous other special districts for parks, community colleges, and assorted local services. There are almost 100 federally recognized Indian Tribes and numerous rancherias, e.g., tribal organizations. In spite of an economy cited as being sixth largest in the world, we have experienced deep budget deficits and eroding support for many public programs over the past two decades (Ca Legal Analyst’s Office, Cal Facts 2004). California’s rate of food insecurity is higher than the national average and according to CHIS data rose significantly from 2001 in 2003. High costs of living are driven by housing, utilities and transportation, placing considerable stress on families’ discretionary food budgets.

Trends in Large-Scale Nutrition Education Efforts: California is a bellwether state for many trends, including nutrition interventions. Our progressive tradition began in the 1930’s with agriculture marketing statutes that included nutrition education. It continued mid-century with State augmentations to federal funding for school meals and nutrition education. This matured in the 1980’s and 1990’s with help from federal grants that allowed the development of innovative social marketing campaigns, one of which is the California 5 a Day Campaign, now the world’s largest public/private nutrition partnership for chronic disease prevention through nutrition. Our cultural diversity and favorable agriculture conditions play out in cuisine that blends ingredients and practices from around the world.  California is fortunate to have foundations and non-profit organizations that provide services, advocacy and leadership for nutrition, physical activity, and food security, much of which targets lower-income groups and communities.

Funds for Nutrition Education within California Government: USDA’s 2006 FSNE Guidance asked for a complete summary of each state’s nutrition education activities.  California’s State agencies administer federal categorical programs that include nutrition education, principally through USDA, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some State General Fund and State Special Fund categorical programs allow local contractors to include nutrition education as an option through “local assistance” funding to units of local government and through competitive grants to public and non-profit organizations. Over the past decade as concern about obesity has risen, so too has the allocation by county, school district, and other local governments of local and State funds for nutrition education. By far, most of these funds appear to be targeting lower-income groups and communities. In spite of and increasing number of state laws on school nutrition policies, however, this has still not yet translated into earmarked State funds for nutrition education. 

State-Local Relationships: In five different State departments, State staff administer a variety of categorical programs, provide leadership and technical assistance, coordinate program efforts, and oversee fiscal accountability of the local agencies that deliver the programs.  State staff do not provide direct services to consumers.  State staff encourage contractors to use evidence-based or evidence-informed programs, they develop new interventions when appropriate, and they facilitate taking the best interventions to-scale in order to reach large numbers of Californians as effectively, efficiently and rapidly as possible.  State staff work with large numbers of external stakeholders to determine “what” needs to be accomplished, then local partners decide “how”, as much as possible drawing from a menu of promising or proven interventions.  There is progress but as yet no single clearinghouse for nutrition education materials and campaigns specifically targeting FSNE-eligible audiences. 

Building an Infrastructure for Nutrition Education that Helps Lower-Income Families with Children: As described above, California is under growing pressure to deal more effectively with the problems of poor diet, physical inactivity, food insecurity, and overweight/obesity.  However, like many states and the federal government itself, its infrastructure is still fragmented.  In 2002, the Network commissioned the Center for Research on Women and Families, a small policy think tank, to produce a Primer that would compile information about nutrition programs for program leaders at the state and local levels.  The purpose was to help all stakeholders understand California’s nutrition infrastructure, optimize the use of federal categorical programs, and work together in coordinating resources and programs to fill gaps, specifically for low-income communities and FSNE-eligible populations.  Released in 2004, Understanding Nutrition, a 48-page document available at, provides an extensive summary of California’s largest federally-funded, state-administered nutrition programs.   

Availability of Other Nutrition Related Programs Serving Low-Income Californians

This section will provide highlights from the Primer, from a DHS inventory of nutrition and physical activity programs, and from our knowledge of other governmental organizations that focus on lower-income families and children.  We focus on State government programs. This information has been used in setting priorities for the ongoing FSNE state plan.  For each state program or organization described below, we have generally identified funding sources and the program’s relation to the Network or to low-income issues; the annual reach/participation, budgets, and exact service locations were not uniformly available.  Some websites are listed.  Organizations in the non-profit and federal government sectors, as well as intra-governmental efforts to convene stakeholders and help coordinate statewide efforts, are described in Attachments 8 and 9.

While there is considerable activity and leadership within State government, apart from the new budget item to support a DHS coordinator, there are as yet no State funds earmarked for nutrition education and physical activity to prevent obesity in low-income populations or the general public.

Categorical Programs Operated by California State Government

* Department of Social Services

            The Emergency Food Assistance Program does not require or provide funding for nutrition education.

            The California Food Assistance Program does not require or provide funding for nutrition education.

* Department of Health Services

California’s WIC Program provides statewide services through 82 local agencies and serves an estimated 1,320,000 mothers, infants and children each month, with over 60 percent of all infants California born each year being eligible.  Core nutrition education efforts include an estimated $54,778,000 spent on nutrition education and $20,490,000 for breastfeeding promotion. Based on successful experience with the federally-funded Fit WIC! Pilot project, California is expanding its efforts to meet the state’s needs for obesity prevention in young children, and it is providing staff leadership for SNAP.

            The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Branch has funded special projects in nutrition, and obesity prevention is in the top 10 priority health indicators for federal Title V state plans. Most MCAH resources are directed to low-income groups; as yet the California MCAH Program has not defined a requirement for nutrition education.

            The Children’s Medical Services (EPSDT) has long provided State funds and exceeded federal requirements by mandating nutrition assessment and anticipatory guidance in nutrition for the estimated 3,391,953 low-income children and youth receiving preventive health care billed through the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program.  A number of counties employ public health nutritionists to work with CHDP health care providers; nutrition education is loosely coordinated through this group.  In the last year, CHDP re-directed its State in-kind away from the Network to Medicaid in order to receive a higher rate of federal matching funds.

            California Project LEAN focuses on changing school nutrition and physical activity policies in about 15 school districts and on promoting 1 percent or less fat milk to Spanish-speaking, low-income mothers in four geographic areas.  Its funding which totaled about $1.7 million in 2004 is provided through the CDC Prevention Block Grant, the Network, The California Endowment, and the Vitamin Anti-Trust Settlement.  Much of its effort targets low-income communities.

            The California Center for Physical Activity works through alliances to provide mini-grants, technical assistance, and model programs, including Walkable Community Workshops, a Healthy Transportation Network, and California’s Walk to School headquarters. The Center is primarily funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Preventive Health & Health Services Block Grant. Other funding sources include Caltrans-Federal transportation enhancement, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Archstone Foundation, and the California Wellness Foundation. Network funding will not continue into 2006. For more information, visit or

            California Obesity Prevention Initiative works to create environments and policies that support physical activity and healthy eating for all Californians. Its new toolkit, Do More. Watch Less, is aimed at teens and their helpers. Annual funding of about $275,000 is provided through California’s Prevention Block Grant from CDC. This unit is also the DHS home of School Health Connections, a CDC-funded coordinated school health initiative that focuses on nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco control.  For more information, visit

The state-funded Preventive Health Care for the Aging Program funds 14 county health departments so public health nurses can offer prevention services to well-elderly persons in mostly low-income community settings.  The program’s protocol requires nutrition education and physical activity promotion, not medical nutrition therapy.  PHCA provides state in-kind through the Network in order to increase the amount of nutrition education it can offer.



* Department of Aging – Eligible California senior citizens may receive a cash benefit in lieu of Food Stamps, so few seniors receive Food Stamps.  Since its target segment consists of low-income families with children, the Network has not linked its statewide nutrition education services with those provided through the Older Americans Act.  However, the following nutrition programs serve seniors who may be part of Food Stamp households and who may receive nutrition education through local Network partners:

            The Congregate Meal Program provides meals to seniors 60 years and over in group settings; many sites are in low-income neighborhoods.

            The Home-Delivered Meal Program provides meals to housebound seniors.

            The Brown Bag Program provides surplus and donated fresh produce and other food products monthly to low-income seniors at community sites.

            The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides a $20 coupon annually to low-income seniors at certified farmers’ markets.

* University of California

            Center on Weight & Health, UC Berkeley – Now housed jointly by the College of Natural Resources and the School of Public Health, the Center conducts research, provides training and technical assistance, especially in the area of evaluation, and participates in a variety of advocacy activities, principally in the area of childhood obesity prevention and control. It is funded through the University, government and foundation grants and contracts.  For more information, visit

            Center for Social Marketing and Nutrition, UC Davis – Funded initially by California’s Cancer Research Program to assist DHS social marketing campaigns, the Center now provides training and technical assistance to Network- funded agencies, maintains a unique, on-line inventory of community nutrition and physical activity assessment instruments, and conducts applied research with Network partners, mostly focusing on understanding problems of fruit and vegetable promotion and access in low-income communities.  More information is available at


* California Department of Education

National School Lunch Program -- The NSLP is offered in 10,700 California schools, serving an estimated 2.8 million lunches every day, of which 75 percent are to children enrolled in free/reduced price meals. Nutrition education is encouraged but not required, and neither State nor federal funds are routinely available for nutrition education through CDE.

National School Breakfast Program – School breakfast is offered in 8,390 California schools, and 55 percent of the schools that offer the school breakfast program have FRPM enrollment exceeding 50 percent of the students. An estimated 938,588 breakfasts are offered every school day. Nutrition education is encouraged but not required, and neither State nor federal funds for nutrition education are routinely available through CDE.

Child and Adult Care Food Program – This program provides federal funding for meals to children up to age 13 in 4,596 child care settings and for impaired adults in group settings.  In 2004, the daily participation in this program was 134,675 with federal funding of $221 million in California.

Summer Meal Program – This program provides federal funding for meals to children, most from low-income families, when they are out of school for 15 or more consecutive days. In 2003, the daily participation in this program was 758,285 with federal funding of $13 million in California.

After School Snack Program – This program provides federal reimbursement for nutritious snacks in structured after school settings, most of which serve lower-income children.

School Breakfast Start-Up Grants – This State-funded program seeks to improve academic performance and support good nutrition by assisting low-resource schools in offering school breakfasts.

USDA’s Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.  In 1999, Congress discontinued appropriating funds for Nutrition Education and Training (NET) Program altogether and replaced it with a limited program of competitive grants of up to $200,000 per state.

  Shaping Health as Partners in Education (SHAPE) is an initiative that supports the coordinated school health model. Currently, there are over 120 districts working together to improve the health and academic success of California school children. The SHAPE California approach for improving the health and academic success of students includes offering healthy meals in child nutrition programs; promoting comprehensive, sequential nutrition education; applying school nutrition policy and practices; and building and maintaining partnerships within the school and neighboring community that support comprehensive nutrition services.

Garden in Every School Initiative, a Superintendent-driven initiative that since the late 1990’s and, with more recent support from the Western Growers Association (WGA), has “grown” school gardens to now be in 3,000 of California’s public schools; start-up grants are available from WGA on a competitive basis.

California Healthy Kids Resource Center maintains a comprehensive collection of health, nutrition, and food service education materials for use by teachers, administrators, other professionals, parents, and community personnel who work with students in preschool through grade 12. Its primary funding is from CDE (School Health Connections Office, the Healthy Kids Office, and the Nutrition Services Division). The Network provides supplemental funding aimed at supporting the provision of suitable materials for its FSNE-eligible school partners.

Linking Education, Activity and Food (LEAF) grants were provided in FFY 03 -05 to 12 districts to assist in the development and implementation of comprehensive nutrition policies and systemic changes that support healthy food choices and increase physical activity. Although funds are no longer available, the evaluation findings and “best practices” will guide the implementation of the new local school policy requirement and the formulation of nutrition standards for foods sold and served outside the Child Nutrition Programs.

* California Department of Food and Agriculture

            The Dairy Council of California, a large California agriculture marketing order, has developed and sponsors proven-effective nutrition/physical activity curriculum and education materials for schools at four developmental levels: pre-K, grades 1-2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-8, as well as after school, K-6. Based on the costs of interventions in schools with enrollments exceeding 50 percent of students eligible for FRPM school meals, DCC provides in-kind contributions to the Network that support Project LEAN’s low-fat milk campaign with Latina mothers.  For more information, go to

            The First Lady’s School Garden Initiative led by CDFA, the Network, CDE, Western Growers’ Association, and the Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is in the planning stage. A large number of stakeholders, including Extension’s Master Gardener Program and interested business sponsors, are involved in working committees.  The goal is to build on existing resources and create a focal point – a unique, fun school garden guide – for the First Lady and other champions to use in promoting and mobilizing statewide efforts to establish vibrant, sustainable gardens in every California school.  Network co-funding helps assure that this new initiative builds on and helps develop ongoing State support for the existing Network infrastructure of low-resource schools.


* The California Children and Families Commission The State Commission and 58 county commissions promote school readiness in children up to age 5 years.  Funded by a $.50/pack tobacco tax, half of the funds are provided to the 58 counties to fulfill local priorities.  At least 17 of the 58 county-based commissions have selected nutrition and obesity prevention for low-income children as a priority, and they provide in-kind to the Network in order to participate and to increase the amount of nutrition education they can offer to low-income families. The State Commission will kick off an obesity prevention initiative with a mass media public awareness campaign in 2005/2006.  It will be designed to build on and support the existing WIC and Network initiatives.


* The Governor’s Obesity Initiative Governor Schwarzenegger proposed in his 2005-06 budget that $6 million would have been added to the DHS budget for: local assistance projects, a Medi-Cal initiative, mass communications, surveillance, worksite wellness, and DHS coordination.  The Legislature removed all but $250,000 and called for a needs assessment and plan by mid-2006 to be part of future budget requests.  Several Cabinet secretaries in addition to the Health and Human Services Agency (CHHSA) are focusing on obesity prevention.  These include California Department Food & Agriculture (CDFA), the Business Transportation & Housing Agency, the Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Governors Office of Planning & Research which deals with land use and redevelopment.  The Governor’s Obesity Summit scheduled for September 15, 2005, aims to mobilize efforts of major companies and organizations. It will address obesity through healthy eating and physical activity and is expected to have some, but not sole, focus on low-income issues.  The Network infrastructure and USDA support are viewed as integral for helping to mobilize significant public/private efforts and achieve health improvements in the FSNE-eligible segment of California’s population.


Intra- and Inter-Governmental Infrastructure to Coordinate Efforts among Programs

See Attachment 7 – Intra- and Inter-Governmental Infrastructure.


d. Areas of California Where Food Stamp Program Eligibles Are Underserved or Have Not Had Access to FSNE previously

All 58 counties receive Food Stamp nutrition education support through the 11 Regional Nutrition Networks (Attachment 2). The Regions provide technical assistance, coordination, media and public relations, educational materials, specific 5 a Day Campaign interventions including programs with qualifying retail food stores, and some staff support for public/private Regional Collaborative that focuses on regional priorities. Low-resource schools/districts may also receive specific technical assistance from the Regional Nutrition Education Consultants who are out-stationed in their area. All these activities focus on better serving FSNE-eligible populations.

Of the nearly 200 local assistance projects operated through UC-FSNEP (43 counties) and the Network (about 150 local assistance projects in 37 counties), all but 10 counties have at least one direct service FSNE project. Projects may be administered through the County Extension, a public agency with a Local Incentive Award grant, or a local organization receiving a special project grant from the Network.

The counties covered only by the Regional Nutrition Networks are Alpine, El Dorado, Inyo, Kings, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Plumas, San Benito, and Siskiyou. With two exceptions-Kings and San Benito-it is the rural, mountainous counties of Northern and Eastern California that receive that least FSNE service, and all tend to have very high rates of poverty and food insecurity. Of the 696,547 Food Stamp participating households in California, those counties have about 3,600 households, or 0.5 percent of the State’s total. From a FSNE Guidance perspective, a barrier to providing FSNE in these counties is the low number of qualifying census tracts and school districts in these rural areas. For those 10 counties combined, there are only 12 qualifying census tracts, with 6 counties having none. There are only 150 qualifying low-resource school districts, two-thirds being in Kings and Siskiyou Counties; they tend to be very small districts without the infrastructure to administer FSNE.

UC and the Network will look in FFY06 into ways that these counties might be better supported; special exclusivity waivers may be needed. If possible, we will identify and work with local agencies in those counties and the Regional Nutrition Networks to identify opportunities.

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