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ASN Health and Nutrition Policy Newsletter
Week of
September 30, 2019        
American Society for Nutrition  Newsletter

September 2019
In This Issue
ASN News
Congressional Action
Administrative Action
National Initiatives
Meetings
Funding Opportunites
International
ASN News
Call for Applications: 2020 ASN Science Policy Fellowships
ASN is accepting application s for the 2020 ASN Science Policy Fellowship through December 20th! ASN will offer two Science Policy Fellowships in 2020 for advanced graduate students, early professionals, postdoctoral trainees, or medical interns, residents, or fellows. ASN Science Policy Fellows, based at their home institution during the one-year Fellowship, gain an enhanced perspective on public policy issues related to nutrition, including an expanded understanding of current nutrition policy issues and initiatives. The deadline to submit application packets  is Friday, December 20, 2019.   Please send completed application packets as well as any questions regarding the Fellowship to   sohlhorst@nutrition.org .
 
ASN Supports America Grows Act
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the America Grows Act, which would authorize a five percent inflation-adjusted annual increase for the next five years for agricultural research and development in the following U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies:
  • National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
  • Economic Research Service (ERS)
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
The American Society for Nutrition signed a   letter with 80 other organizations in support of the America Grows Act ( S. 2458 ). Now that this bill has been referred to the Committee on Budget , please send a letter of support to the Chair, Ranking Minority member or a member from your state to seek their support.
 
ASN Members Appointed to NASEM Committee on Nutrient Content of Human Milk
ASN is proud to announce the appointment of members, Kathleen M. Rasmussen (chair), Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, Meghan Azad, and Michelle "Shelley" McGuire, to the NASEM Committee on Scanning New Evidence on Nutrient Content of Human Milk. The six-month project "will develop pre-specified criteria to characterize nutrient levels in human milk and to identify characteristics of the nutritional quality of human milk in relation to infant requirements to support normal growth and development."
 
ASN Sponsors 50th Anniversary of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health
ASN has joined with Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Nutrition as a sponsor of a  50th Anniversary of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health event . Held October 3-4, 2019 in Boston, Mass. Complementing the Boston event, a Washington, DC Capitol Hill event will be held on October 30th from 2:00-4:00pm, sponsored by Congressman Jim McGovern (D, MA).
 
ASN to Participate in NIH Geroscience Summit
ASN will participate in the third Geroscience Summit , hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and organized by the trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group. The Summit, focused on the emerging field of geroscience and its potential role in combating specific age-related diseases, will provide a forum for novel interactions between professional societies and foundations and the community of researchers and practitioners of geroscience. The summit will take place at the NIH November 4-5, 2019 and will also be live streamed by videocast. Please share any input you may have with sohlhorst@nutrition.org to help prepare ASN's comments related to the opportunities for nutrition to impact the onset, severity, or treatment of aging biology coupled with nutrition-related diseases.
  

Congressional Action
Federal Government Avoids a Shut Down
The Senate and House approved the Continuing Appropriations Act 2020 and Health Extenders Act of 2019 ( H.R. 4378 ) without amendment by a vote of 81-16. This Act will fund the federal government through November 21 at the FY 2019 levels with several exceptions and will allow the Senate to consider the FY 2020 appropriations bill the House passed in June. Since several health measures are expiring, this act also extends funding for a variety of health programs including community health centers and Medicaid coverage in U.S. territories. The President signed the short-term spending bill.
 
Senate Acts on Appropriations Bills
The Senate Appropriations Committee, working in a bi-partisan manner, has passed six FY 2020 appropriations bills; these, including the Appropriations Bill for Agriculture, now await full Senate consideration. Here are the relevant details of the Agriculture discretionary funding of $23.1 billion, $58 million above the FY2019 enacted level. Relevant highlights from the Committee   report follow:
  • Agricultural Research - $3.172 billion that includes $425 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, a $10 million increase over FY2019, no increase for formula research funding for land-grant universities. The Bill also rejects proposed extramural research project terminations and laboratory closures included in the President's budget request. Special report language addresses two Agriculture Research Service programs of interest -
    • Food Systems- received an additional $2,000,000 for ARS to support a Food Systems Center at a land-grant institution that addresses how local, regional, and global food systems can provide nutritious and culturally appropriate food, regardless of individual life circumstances.
    • Human Nutrition Research- included an increase of $1,000,000 to expand research regarding life stage nutrition and metabolism; and the growth, health, disease prevention, diet, and immune function of the developing child, especially the rural child. The Committee also provides an increase of $1,000,000 to address gaps in current ARS research at the intersection between agriculture and human nutrition and health.
    • Nutrition Research and Aging- More research is needed to address the needs of all Americans, with a focus on the elderly, the fastest growing segment of the population. Therefore, ARS is directed to prioritize human nutrition research across the lifespan.
Report language also addresses two NIFA programs:
    • Community Food Projects- expresses concern that large grocer recruitment remains a problem for many communities, particularly those experiencing higher rates of abandoned or vacant homes and encourages the Department to explore innovative approaches to address access to nutritional food options in urban food deserts. The Committee encourages NIFA to explore the development of community-wide urban agriculture projects that assist in eliminating vacant properties while providing the communities with much-needed fresh produce. 
    • Childhood Obesity- encourages USDA to support innovative efforts to address the unique challenges faced in addressing obesity among children and youth in urban, minority low-income populations and remote areas among native and underserved populations through a combination of family education, community health promotion, and clinical studies.
  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative - $2 million to improve access to affordable, healthy foods in underserved areas.
  • Economic Research Service - $86,757,000, same as FY 2019 enacted levels. Sec. 762 provides $25 million to NIFA and ERS for moving expenses. The House bill restricts any expenditures for this move.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - $3.148 billion in discretionary funding for the FDA, $80 million over the FY2019 enacted level.  
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) - $6 billion in discretionary funding for WIC, $75 million below the FY2019 enacted level based on USDA estimates of WIC enrollments.
  • Child Nutrition Programs -$58 million in discretionary program funds are also included for equipment grants and Summer EBT Demonstration, in addition to mandatory funds.
  • The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program -$210 million that includes $15 million for the Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement.
The Chairman Roy Blunt (R, MO) of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies introduced a bill and a draft report . These recommendations include a $3 billion NIH increase and a $180.5 million increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill contains flat funding for National Center for Health Statistics but does not include the House's $100 million initiative for CDC data modernization. The Prevention and Public Health Fund remains at $854,250,000, but funding for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program is eliminated. T he preliminary bill does not include new funding for data modernization.
 
Congress at Work on Critical Bills
  • The Senate approved Building Blocks of STEM Act (S. 737), introduced by Sen. Rosen, (D, NY), which directs the National Science Foundation to support STEM education research focused on early childhood.
  • The House Committee on Education and Labor approved the Dignity in Aging Act (H.R. 4334), a bipartisan proposal to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA) that provides a 35 percent total increase in program funding for OAA over five years and establishes a National Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the Aging Network in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of HHS, along with other provisions.
  • New Bills on Child Nutrition Reauthorization
    • Schools Preventing Hunger in At-Risk Kids (SPARK) Act (H.R. 4259), extends categorical eligibility to over 400,000 children who currently live with grandparents or in other arrangements such as kinship care.
    • Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act of 2019 (HR. 4265), permits more flexibility in commodity assistance used for breakfast.

Administrative Action
GAO Releases Study on Food Waste from Food Date Labels
The General Accounting Office released a new report , Date Labels On Packaged Foods, that found USDA and FDA have taken steps to address consumer confusion about date labels on packaged foods. As two examples, USDA issued a fact sheet on date labels for consumers and developed a smartphone application that provides consumers with information on the shelf life of products. FDA has issued consumer materials on the meaning of phrases on date labels.
 
FDA Announces "New Era of Smarter Food Safety"
The Food and Drug Administration  announced details for an October 21 public meeting on a "New Era of Smarter Food Safety" to foster a dialogue with domestic and international regulatory and public health partners, industry, consumers, academia, and others. Along with public comments submitted to the docket, FDA will publish a Blueprint for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety that will outline how this modern approach will address public health challenges, ranging from being able to trace sources of contaminated foods, to using new predictive analytics tools like artificial intelligence to assess risks and help prioritize the agency's work and resources.
 
USDA Announces New Initiative: Telehealth in WIC
The U.S. Department of Agriculture   announced  the award of an $8.5 million cooperative agreement with Tufts University to test and evaluate the use of telehealth innovations in delivery of USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The project's goal is to develop cutting-edge technology to improve delivery of nutrition education to pregnant women and caregivers of young children participating in USDA's WIC Program.   
 
DHHS Highlights Efforts to Meet Leading Health Indicators
One of the Healthy People 2020 Stories from the Field provides a description of North Carolina's efforts to increase access to healthy foods in rural food deserts. The North Carolina state legislature allocated $250,000 each year to improving healthy food access in rural food deserts through the Healthy Food Small Retailer Program (HFSRP). One year follow-up data show significant increases in Healthy Food Supply scores: more affordable, available, and of higher quality and greater variety in HFSRP stores than non-participating stores. Customers in HFSRP stores found more lower-fat milk, whole grains, and fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables.
 
Nominations Requested: President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Science Board
The Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is searching for experts to serve on the President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Science Board. The Science Board is a subcommittee of the Council and is made up of Council members and scholars with expertise in the fields of physical activity, health, sports, and nutrition. Science Board members must hold a PhD, MD, or related terminal degree in the fields of physical activity, health, sports, and/or nutrition. Nominations are due to HHS by October 11, 2019.

National Initiatives
New Comprehensive Beverage Recommendations for Children
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Heart Association, have released a new set of comprehensive beverage recommendations for children (birth through age 5) and consumer-friendly guidance on their new website . The recommendations are for both parents and professionals and suggest beverages and quantities by specific age groups from 0 to 5 years of age. The website posts parent-focused one-minute videos, covering all the different topics included in the guidelines such as tips for swapping out sugary drinks and understanding different types of milk.
 
New Guidance for Produce Rx Programs
Trust for America's Health has published a new story:  Produce Rx: Using Prescriptions to Improve Affordability of Healthy Foods,  a program in Washington, D.C. that connects public health providers, healthcare professionals, and food retailers to provide prescriptions for fruit and vegetables to underserved patients with chronic diseases. Participating patients receive a $20 voucher per week to spend on produce, as well as wrap-around nutrition services from AmeriHealth Caritas (health insurer) and Giant Supermarket's in-store nutritionist.
 
Achieving a State of Healthy Weight 2018 Report
The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education released the CDC-funded 2018 Achieving a State of Healthy Weight (ASHW) Report . The report assesses how well Early Care and Education (ECE) licensing regulations in the fifty states and D.C. include nationally recommended obesity prevention standards. The 2018 data show gradual, but significant, improvements in efforts to address childhood obesity and strengthen childcare licensing regulations. To learn more about how your state is addressing obesity prevention in child care licensing regulations, please visit the ASHW 2018 State Supplement .
 
New Research on Consumer Attitudes
The International Food Information Council Foundation released two studies- A Survey of Consumers's Attitudes and Perceptions of Environmentally Sustainable and Healthy Diets and A Survey of Consumer Behaviors & Perceptions of Food Waste . To the survey on Environmentally Sustainable and Healthy Diets questions, consumers answered "what I eat is healthy for the planet" most frequently, followed by "what I eat is nutritious." The survey on food waste found consumers choosing as the top three types of food most often thrown away ─ 74% of consumers discarded leftovers of foods prepared at home, 67% threw out fresh produce and 50% tossed leftovers from restaurants.

NCCOR Publishes Measures for Nutrition and Physical Activity
The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) unveiled the Measures Registry Learning Modules  introduces four modules for each domain of the Measures Registry. These resources can help researchers, practitioners, students, and faculty understand key measurement concepts for research and evaluation projects related to nutrition and physical activity.
 
NASEM New Report on Social Care in Health Care
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently published Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation's Health . The report identifies and assesses current and emerging approaches and recommends ways to expand and optimize social care in the health care setting.
 
FFAR Releases Strategic and Sustainability Plan for Comment
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) offers an opportunity for members of the public to hear from FFAR's Board of Directors about its Strategic and Sustainability Plan . The public may submit comments at an October 11, 2019 public meeting in Washington, DC or on the website .
 
Overview of the Statutes Impacting SNAP
A recent article "Legislative and Executive Branch Developments Affecting the United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)" in the Journal of Food Law & Policy provides a brief overview of the evolution of the United States' largest domestic food security and nutrition safety net program. The article also reviews more recent Congressional actions from the 2018 Farm Bill and various appropriation bills and actions of the Executive Branch under President Trump.


Meetings
Designing a System of Prevention to Advance Health, Safety, and Wellbeing for All
Public Health Institute
October 2, 2019 , 2:00 - 3:00 pm ET [Webinar]
Register here .
 
A Nation Still at Risk
Bi-partisan Policy Center
Thursday, October 3, 2019
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET, Webcast
Register
here .
 
FDA's Meeting on A New Era of Smarter Food Safety
Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel at 1750 Rockville Pike in Rockville, Md.
October 21, 2019, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
Register here .
 
FFAR Public Conversation on Strategic Plan
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 1200 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC
October 21, 2019, 10:30 a.m., ET
Register here to attend or join via a call-in weblink or Facebook Live
 
Evolution of Technology in Biomedical Science
National Academy of Science Annual Meeting
October 19-21, 2019 [Webcast]
Register here .
October 21, 4:30-5:30 p.m., ET [Special President's forum]
Register here .
 
Produce Prescriptions:  A Smart Solution for Health Inequality
Wholesome Wave
October 21, 2019 , 1:00pm - 2:00pm ET [Webinar]
Register here .
 
The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study: Drivers of Premature Mortality in the United States
National Academy of Science
October 24, 2019, 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET [Webinar]
Register here.
 
NIH Workshop Sensory Nutrition and Disease
Natcher Conference Center (Building 45) Room A/B 
Bethesda, MD
Nov 12-13, 2019
Register here by November 1
 

Funding Opportunities
DHHS
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
National Science Foundation
Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact  Synopsis 1

National Science Foundation
Science and Technology Studies
Synopsis 1

National Science Foundation
Science of Science - Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants
Synopsis 1

USDA
Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
American Diabetes Association
Awareness, CVD Risk Conversations, Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES), and/or Provider confidence in therapies with CVD Risk Benefit , closing date October 30, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. ET for January 1, 2020 project start date. 


International
Impact on the Environment of an Adequate, Healthy Diet
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future published new research t hat found "achieving an adequate, healthy diet in most low- and middle-income countries will require a substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions and water use due to food production." This paper was published in the September issue of the Global Environmental Change journal. The authors modeled "the greenhouse gas (GHG) and water footprints of nine increasingly plant-forward diets, aligned with criteria for a healthy diet, specific to 140 countries." In brief, results suggested that both vegan diets and diets with modest amounts of low-food chain animals (i.e., forage fish, bivalve mollusks, insects) had comparably small GHG and water footprints. On the other hand, diets that limited animal products to one meal per day produced less GHG than lacto-ovo vegetarian diets that included dairy but eliminated terrestrial and aquatic meats. The relatively low-impact choices among modeled diets otherwise varied across countries.
 
EFSA Seeks Comments on Assessment of Potential Risk of Pesticides in Food on Human Health
The European Food Safety Authority is carrying out a public consultation on its pilot assessments of the risks posed to humans by residues of multiple pesticides in food. Interested parties have until November 15 to submit comments on two assessments: one considers chronic effects on the thyroid system and the other looks at acute effects on the nervous system. The assessment arose from a multi-year collaboration between EFSA and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment for the Netherlands (RIVM). EFSA is also holding a special meeting in Brussels at which EFSA scientists and external experts will present and discuss the main elements and findings of the pilot assessments.