Wednesday, August 30, 2006

National Governors Association: Building Healthier Nutrition Programs

From the National Governors Association issue brief this month, entitled "Creating Healthy States: Building Healthier Nutrition Programs":
Rates of overweight and obesity have reached epidemic levels in the United States, and no single approach will turn them around. However, the Food Stamp Program (FSP) and Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which provide broad coverage of high-risk groups, afford potentially effective ways to promote healthier lifestyles that can decrease the prevalence of obesity. Governors have considerable opportunity to curb the health problems caused by excess weight through innovative changes in FSP and WIC coupled with other initiatives with the target populations. Financial and physical access to nutritious foods, in addition to education and guidance on healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices should be core components of increasing the health impact of FSP and WIC.
The section on enabling state innovation discusses options for providing extra value for food stamps targeted for healthy food options, waivers for state pilot programs, and improvements in the process of developing state food stamp nutrition education plans. Eileen Kennedy, Bea Rogers, Patrick Racsa, and I contributed to this report.