The Brighton Report – February 19

The Brighton Report is Brighton Training Group’s weekly news show. It’s a fast paced run down of the three most notable news stories of the week in child nutrition, school nutrition, CACFP, SFSP and other child nutrition programs.

Text Version of The Brighton Report: 

  1. President Obama asks Congress for more funds to feed low-income kids during the summer
  2. New dietary guidelines are released by the Obama administration
  3. Picky eating in young children may be a sign of something more than stubbornness

And more…

It’s Friday February 19, and this is the Brighton Report.


President Obama asks Congress for more funds to feed low-income kids during the summer

The Obama administration recently unveiled two proposals aimed at increasing access to federal nutrition programs for low-income schoolchildren.

The president announced that his 2017 budget will include 12 billion dollars over the next ten years to help feed millions of low-income schoolchildren during the summer months. Under The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Program – The Summer EBT- families with school-age children who qualify for subsidized school meals would be given a debit card to buy an extra $45 of groceries per child during the months when school is not in session.

Currently, fewer than 4 million of the nearly 22 million eligible children receive free or reduced price meals during the summer months.  The Summer EBT program is meant to bridge that gap and would serve as an additional benefit to other government assistance programs.

Separately, The Department of Agriculture announced a pilot program aimed at increasing accessibility to the National School Lunch Program. States will be allowed to use Medicaid data to find qualifying students and directly enroll them for free and reduced price lunches.

Under the current system, parents have to go through a cumbersome application process to access the program; it’s hoped that the reduction in paperwork will increase participation..

States must apply to participate in the program. The Department expects to approve five states to participate during the 2016 school year, expanding to 20 states over the next three years.


New dietary guidelines are released by the Obama administration

Right around the time you were making those New Year’s resolutions, The Obama administration released the latest update to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the country’s go-to source for nutrition advice.

The guidelines, issued by the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, urge Americans to drastically cut back on sugar, singled out teen-aged boys and men for eating too much meat, and removed previous recommendations on cholesterol.

For the first time, the guidelines recommend limiting added sugar to 10% or less of daily calories – two hundred calories or less for the typical 2,000 calorie diet. The problem? Those 200 calories equal 12 teaspoons of sugar, which is more than twice the amount of added sugar consumed each day by the average American.

While no specific limits on meat consumption were included in the updated guidelines, those hungry men and teen-aged boys were urged to vary their protein sources to include seafood, poultry, seeds, nuts, and legumes.

Previous limits on cholesterol intake were eliminated; Americans are now simply urged to eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.  New research now shows that foods high in cholesterol may not significantly increase the risk of heart disease in healthy adults.  So go ahead and scramble those eggs for breakfast.

Just don’t put salt on them. According to a recent CDC report, more than 90 percent of Americans, including children, consume too much sodium.

And, not surprisingly, the guidelines recommend that we eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Picky eating in young children may be a sign of something more than stubbornness

Picky eating affects an estimated 20% of all children. For some of those children, it’s just a phase, but for others, it may be an indicator of something more troubling.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that moderate selective eating in children aged 2-6 is associated with symptoms of psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Children who exhibit severe selective eating were seven times more likely to have social anxiety and twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to children without selective eating habits.

The author of the study, Nancy Zucker of Duke University, says it’s important to note that the research shows that picky eating does not cause psychological issues or vice-versa. There is simply a correlation between how kids behave around food and how they interact with the world in general.  The heightened sensitivity to taste and texture may correspond to more intense emotions and feelings.

The study shows that picky eating may serve as a visible marker to identify children who may be at risk for anxiety and depression, which can be hard to spot in young children. This would allow more children to get help earlier.

It’s not yet clear which children will simply outgrow their picky eating and which children won’t.  Meanwhile, parents are encouraged to make family meals a positive experience rather than a battleground.

And, that’s the report for today. Thanks for watching. I’m Lauren.