Post contributed by Katia Zogg, SNDA Public Policy Committee Leader
As I was meal prepping over the weekend to get ready for my final semester at San Francisco State University, I started to think about what I used to eat in grade school and the food and physical activity environment I was provided. I attended public school in the 1990’s and have very fond memories of my grade school years; I remember eating lunches from home and always having plenty of recess breaks. Today, however, it seems the focus on kids’ health in schools has shifted significantly, but I was happy to read recently about Action for Healthy Kids.
Action for Health Kids (AFHK) is an awesome initiative and it gave me hope for the future health of our youth. Created in 2002, AFHK is a national and state integrated initiative and their focus is centered around making changes in the school environment to address childhood obesity, physical inactivity, and undernourishment. Their mission is “To mobilize school professionals, families and communities to take actions that lead to healthy eating, physical activity and healthier schools where kids thrive”. Decreases in funding have limited the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), local sponsors, and state agencies to deliver nutrition education adequately to children. Additionally, funding for nutrition education through child nutrition programs is narrow and limited, even though the number of participants in these programs continues to grow. With AFHK, however, changes in the school environment can be made in order to combat obesity and undernourishment and promote active and healthy behaviors in kids. Through donations, volunteers, partnerships, and fundraising, AFHK has brought grants, programs, and physical activity and nutrition lessons to over 29,000 schools. The number of volunteers has grown from 700 in 2002 to over 120,000 in 2017 - and that number is still growing! They have partnered with over 75 national organizations and associations that focus on serving and caring for the needs of youths. And they are continuing to develop their programs to meet the needs of school nutrition programs, physical activity programs, and developing, implementing and/or evaluating action plans or policies for school wellness.
A short-term goal of AFHK is to increase the amount of health promoting schools. Long-term, AFHK wants to be strongly involved and a leading player in preventing childhood obesity nationwide. AFHK has three main objectives to achieve these goals:
There are many grassroots efforts being made all over the country to promote proper nutrition and physical activity in schools through AFHK teams. Some examples include installing more drinking fountains to increase water intake, creating a school garden with garden education as part of the curriculum, and creating culinary arts electives that focus on cooking, nutrition, gardening, and math. There are many, many more examples that you can read about here. Additionally, AFHK provides tools and resources to schools to help with implementation of health and wellness programs.
If you’re interested in getting involved, you can donate, volunteer, and/or fundraise and you can read more about taking action here. I hope this information will inspire and excite you about how small steps and people coming together to meet a common goal can create significant change.
Boyle, M.A. (2017). Community nutrition in action: an entrepreneurial approach (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning
Action for Healthy Kids (n.d.). Action for Healthy Kids logo [graphic]. http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/index.php
Post contributed by Katia Zogg, SNDA Public Policy Committee Leader
In March 2017, the Associated Students (AS) of San Francisco State University started the AS Food Pantry in partnership with SF-Marin Food Bank in order to combat food insecurity among SF State students. The Food Pantry is open every Monday during the academic year from 12:30pm-3:00pm at the Student Life Events Center (Annex 1) and they provide a weeks worth of food to eligible students. Items include 6-10 fresh produce items, 1 grain item, and 1 protein item. Additionally, during the Fall 2018 semester, the Associated Students launched the Food Cupboard, which provides canned and dried goods to eligible students. The Food Cupboard is open every Wednesday and Thursday during the academic year from 1:00pm-7:00pm at the Pyramid next to Jack Adams Hall, Cesar Chavez Student Center. Collectively, the Food Pantry and Food Cupboard are known as Gator Groceries. For more information, please visit: http://asi.sfsu.edu/gator-groceries/. I interviewed Alison Li about her experiences as a volunteer and employee at the AS Food Pantry.
Katia: When did you start at the Food Pantry?
Alison: I needed to find volunteer work for one of my classes and heard about the Food Pantry when it launched in Spring 2017. I have stayed on as a volunteer every semester since then and am now an employee.
Katia: What do your job duties include?
Alison: I help set-up and break-down the Food Pantry, restock items as needed, and pass out food items to the students.
Katia: How many students participate?
Alison: When the program initially started the cap was for about 100 students. Now the cap has expanded to around 300 students.
Katia: How can SF State students apply?
Alison: Students can visit http://asi.sfsu.edu/gator-groceries/ to apply. The application is free and open to all SF State students and it is for both the Food Pantry and the Food Cupboard.
Katia: How can students volunteer and get involved?
Alison: Students interested in volunteering can go online to sign-up for volunteer times (http://asi.sfsu.edu/gator-groceries/).
Post Contributed by Katia Zogg, SNDA Public Policy Committee Leader
I attended the Public Policy and Advocacy 101: How to Get Things Done! webinar last week hosted by the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and wanted to share a few notes about what I learned and how you can advocate for public policy issues that impact the field of nutrition and dietetics and our nation’s health. Brenda O’Day, MS, RDN, CNSC, the Vice President of Public Policy for the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was the webinar speaker and she provided great insight and resources that we can take advantage of to advocate for public policies that will affect the future of the dietetics field and the health of our nation’s population. Getting involved and advocating for policies related to nutrition, food, and health can positively change our nation’s well-being and our careers.
You may be wondering, why does advocacy matter? Can I make a difference? Advocating gives a voice to those that are vulnerable who may not be able to speak for themselves. Their rights, views, and wishes will be considered when decisions about their lives are being made. Last month at the 2018 Public Policy Workshop in Washington, DC, over 1,400 nutrition professionals attended the event--the largest turnout yet! They spoke to members of congress about malnutrition and how it is impacting the aging population and our health care system. Their message was for inclusion of diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition as part of high-quality health care. By coming together, we can influence the future of our nation’s health and the future of our profession and give those that are vulnerable a chance to be heard.
How the Academy advocates for public policy
How YOU can advocate for public policy and get involved
I encourage you to take action! You can send action alerts for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and for prevention and treatment of malnutrition. We know that obesity is on the rise and the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act will allow for treatment through intensive behavioral therapy, allow for quality care at a low cost, and increase patient’s access to obesity treatment. Additionally, diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition can improve patient’s strength, quality of life, and decrease length of hospital stays. There is strength in numbers and these small actions can make huge changes!
California State Capitol Museum (n.d.). Capitol Side [photograph]. http://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/
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