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ADA advises Congress on nutrition policy

July 31, 2015

By Craig Palmer

Washington – The Association urged Congress to protect nutrition education and food assistance programs in legislation reauthorizing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

"The HHFKA supports a number of programs designed to improve the dietary habits of our most vulnerable children," the ADA said in letters to House and Senate committees considering the renewal legislation. "Through these programs, we can help prevent oral disease by raising awareness about how diet and nutrition impact oral health."

The ADA urged Congress to prioritize these programs:

  • Continue requiring schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to maintain science-based nutrition standards for foods sold in schools, including those sold outside the school cafeteria (i.e. vending machines, school stores, a la carte, etc.).
  • Continue requiring schools participating in the NSLP to maintain (and periodically update) local wellness policies that promote healthy eating, and encourage local wellness policy planning committees to include dentists in their activities.
  • Continue requiring Women, Infants and Children grantees to spend a certain portion of funds on nutrition education and breastfeeding promotion and support at WIC clinics, along with screening and referrals for dental care.
  • Extend support for the Team Nutrition program, which develops and provides nutrition education materials for schools to use in classroom activities, school-wide events, community programs and the media to promote healthy eating to children.
  • Extend the nutrition education and obesity prevention grant program for states to promote healthy food choices, with a special emphasis on diets that promote optimal oral health.

The letters are posted at ADA.org.