USDA Fruit and Vegetable Program Stops Childhood Obesity

In July of 2015, the University of Arkansas released the results from a new study on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The program is intended to help elementary schools increase the amount of fruit and vegetables offered to students. The USDA believes this program can help our children overcome many of the challenges with childhood obesity.

University of Arkansas Research Study

U of A sampled elementary schools throughout their state once the FFVP began. They found that childhood obesity rates dropped from 20% to 17%. While it is early in the program, this is some of the first research to support the idea that fruit and vegetable consumption can lead to decreases in weight.

The study calculated that the fruit and vegetable program costs were about $50 to $75 per child per year to reduce the obesity rate by 3 percent. That’s a staggeringly small cost compared to the $280 to $339 per-student per-year cost of an effort to reduce childhood obesity by just 1 percent as estimated by other researchers in 2011.

“By this measure, our results suggest that the fresh fruit and vegetable program is a very cost-effective obesity prevention tool,” Nayga said. “Moreover, prevention of childhood obesity is in addition to the other nutritional benefits that come from increased fruit and vegetable consumption.”

Qian, Nayga, and Thomsen worked with Arkansas Center for Health Improvement research director Heather Rouse. Their work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Arkansas Biosciences Institute. The study was published in the June 2015 journal Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.

For the full article: Childhood Obesity Study

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How Can NutriFusion® Help Tackle Childhood Obesity?

Our patent-pending process allows us to stabilize the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables. NutriFusion® fruit and vegetable ingredients are being used to power the nutrition in a wide variety of packaged foods across the world. We believe our products can support the USDA’s program by being mixed in with a variety of beverages and foods at schools across the U.S. Our children wouldn’t have to sacrifice taste and would still get their daily value of natural vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. Together, we can tackle childhood obesity.

Kid’s Health: Schools Need Help With Nutrition

Welcome to the NutriFusion blog! We are excited to start sharing news on the trending topics on health, food, and nutrition. Our first post revolves around the current problems with kid’s health and school lunches. In our post today, we focus on a recent article from the New York Times.

Schools Report Varying Results in Their Efforts to Comply With Nutrition Guidelines

Angie Gaszak, a school system nutritionist, says they are trying to make sure that the kids eat healthily and serve them things that they will eat. Angie is part of a growing amount of school nutritionists trying to find the balance to comply with the Child Nutrition Bill that President Obama signed in 2010. The bill requires schools to update their nutritional standards to reduce sodium and sugar and increase the number of fruits and vegetables in school lunches.

Many of the kids are just not buying into the healthy lunches and food waste is starting to pile up at schools across the country. According to the Center for Disease Control, 17% of children in America are overweight. Childhood obesity is a serious problem, but schools believe the nutrition bill should be phased in more gradually.

The current pushback from lawmakers and schools is the investment in new machines and fresh produce to serve healthier lunches that comply with the law. However, 95% of school are in compliance with the law. Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, is optimistic in helping the 5% comply with the law. So far his group has contributed $98 million to schools to fund new equipment and fresh produce.

Schools are frustrated. They believe that students should be eating healthier, but they need more flexibility to deliver on this issue. The Child Nutrition Bill is causing massive problems for schools because of the strict sodium regulations. One official talks about a salad that they had to stop serving because the dressing had too much sodium. On the other hand, some schools are finding the regulations easier to deal with than others. A school district in Georgia, suggest that the laws are not too harsh, and schools need to play with the menu. The sodium regulations are actually on weekly averages, so it’s relatively easy to serve food high in sodium one day and very little sodium the next day.

Some school districts have seen success by working with food manufacturers to re-develop existing student favorites to meet the new nutritional guidelines. It’s important for students to eat well every day and not have to change their diets very much. We believe our products are a great example of how food manufacturers could enhance popular foods to meet the new guidelines. Our powdered fruits and vegetables can be added to almost any processed food or beverage to add the daily vitamins and minerals that are essential to kid’s health.

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