Advocacy in Action
Federal Advocacy Update
Jim Bogden, SHES Advocacy Chair
Major Farm Bill Victory! On May 21 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to override President Bush’s veto of the Farm Bill by a decisive vote of 316 to 108; on the following day the U.S. Senate voted 82 to 13 to override the veto. APHA’s advocacy staff and APHA members who took the time to contact their elected representatives over the long, three-year legislative process deserve a good piece of the credit.
Although the bill has been criticized for negative effects it is likely to have on the environment, it contains more than $10 billion in additional funding over 10 years for the nutrition title. In addition to beefing up the Food Stamp program (actually, “un-beefing” it is a better description) and greater assistance for food banks and community food projects, schools will directly benefit from some other important provisions in the law:
· The popular and successful Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which has been helping selected elementary schools provide free healthy snacks to students in low-income communities during or after the school day, is being expanded to cover dozens of additional schools in each of the 50 states and D.C. (though the program is still far from universal).
· School foodservice managers are newly allowed to use geographic preferences for the procurement of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
· The funding authorization for USDA’s Team Nutrition program has been increased.
· A pilot program to develop community gardens at schools will be conducted in five states. Gardens will be planted, cared for and harvested by students while they learn about agriculture, sound farming practices and healthy eating.
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) posted the nutrition title language at http://www.frac.org/pdf/farmbill07_senate.pdf
Fiscal Year 2009 Budget. The annual budget race is off and running. The budget matters because many of the programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration have been flat-funded or suffered significant cuts over the past five years. Indeed, CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health has been essentially flat-funded for the past 15 years!
Congress recently passed a FY 2009 Budget Resolution that includes funding levels for CDC and HRSA that are $5.2 billion above the president’s budget request. Access the FY 2009 Budget Conference Report at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp110:FLD010:@1(hr659) APHA needs your help in the months ahead to ensure that the actual funding appropriation matches this amount. Please respond to APHA’s advocacy alerts - the online messaging system is quick, easy to use and effective.
FIT Kids Act. The American Heart Association and the National Association of Sport and Physical Education are taking the lead on promoting the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids (FIT Kids) Act. This would amend the No Child Left Behind Act in several ways to enhance P.E. and other physical activity, including requiring all schools, districts and states to include the quantity and quality of P.E. in the “report cards” currently sent to parents. For current information on the status of the bill, see http://capwiz.com/aahperd/issues/alert/?alertid=10163576&PROCESS=Take+Action
Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been taking the lead on advocacy efforts for bipartisan Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act. The bill calls on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update its nutrition standards for foods and beverages offered from vending machines, a la carte in the cafeteria, and in school stores on the entire campus throughout the school day. For information on what you can do to help, see http://www.cspinet.org/takeaction
Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Advocates are honing our wish lists for the five-year reauthorization of the Child Nutrition and WIC Programs in 2009 (it’s back around already!). Your APHA-SHES Action Board representative is a part of a workgroup of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, along with the School Nutrition Association and many other school health proponents. Let me know what changes and improvements you would like to see to the local wellness policy requirement, foodservice program, and other aspects of the law at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA is holding a series of regional listening sessions on Child Nutrition and WIC Program reauthorization priorities in Boston, Austin, San Francisco, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago and Denver. For details, go to www.fns.usda.gov/cga/Sessions/default.htm. USDA also is seeking written comments through Oct. 15 at edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-11236.htm
Meet with Your Legislators and Candidates. This summer APHA’s Public Health ACTion (PHACT) Campaign is mobilizing support to educate legislators and candidates running for office about the need to include public health in the health reform debate and to generate interest in prevention and support for the public health infrastructure. During the months of July and August, we are asking APHA members to schedule meetings with their legislators in their district offices, participate in town hall meetings hosted by their legislators, and seek opportunities to ask questions to candidates running for office.
For more information, contact Nicky Bassford of APHA’s Government Relations staff at email@example.com For a current list of APHA priority legislative actions, see http://www.capwiz.com/apha/home
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2007 YRBSS Results and Data Released
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health announces the release of the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance MMWR Surveillance Summary and the 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data.
The MMWR Surveillance Summary includes results from the 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey and results from 39 state and 22 local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. The MMWR Surveillance Summary, new fact sheets, National Youth Risk Behavior Survey data files, and technical documentation will be available at www.cdc.gov/yrbs
Youth Online, a web-based, data exploration system, also will be updated.
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What's New in School Health Education
If you are interested in contributing to the SHES Section's newsletter for a column on "What's New in School Health Education?" or another school health-related topic, please contact Amy Cory at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your contribution would be much appreciated. Thank you for your consideration.
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What's New in School Health Services
On March 24, the U.S. Department of Education published new proposed regulations enforcing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which governs disclosures from students’ records by educational institutions. (Federal Register, March 24, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 57 (15574 - 15602; 34 CFR Part 99). The proposed revision mainly addressed clarification of notification in emergency situations that were considered confusing in the Virginia Tech aftermath and guidance regarding electronic record keeping. Problems with communication between schools and public health were not addressed in the proposed revisions.
The National Association of School Nurses submitted comments on May 8, 2008 to the Department of Education on the proposed revisions to the FERPA. Areas highlighted included the need for FERPA to allow disclosure of student health information to public health officials, the need for privacy and confidentiality training for school employees and contractors, notifying students and families when sensitive information is inappropriately accessed or stolen, and acknowledgment and guidance regarding conflicts between FERPA and minors' rights legislation.
APHA submitted the Resolution that was passed at the November 2007 meeting, and individual APHA members submitted comments also. The full text of public comments will be published at a later date.
Martha Dewey Bergren can be contacted for more information: email@example.com
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Unique Collaboration to Address Obesity in Schools
“You Are What You Eat”
The Honolulu Advertiser reported that the Hawaii Medical Service Association is working with the non-profit Alliance for Drama Education to teach elementary school students about the benefits of proper nutrition. ADE will travel to 10 Oahu elementary schools to lead students in a performance of the "You are What You Eat" musical. The musical, based on HMSA's Eat Healthy campaign, explores the range of food choices that students make each day.
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Amy Cory graduated with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in nursing science from the
Her doctoral dissertation, “The Influence of the Home, School, and Community Contexts on Childhood Obesity: A Multilevel Study” received two awards, the Dean’s Nursing Science Excellence Award and the
Nursing Alumni Association Award.
Amy Cory is secretary-elect for SHES. Congratulations, Dr. Cory!
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