ASN Health and Nutrition Policy Newsletter
Week of
April 29 , 2019        
American Society for Nutrition Newsletter

April 2019
In This Issue
ASN News
Congressional Action
Administrative Action
National Initiatives
Funding Opportunities
ASN News
Connect with The Fed at Nutrition 2019!
Nutrition 2019 provides investigators at all career stages with invaluable opportunities to interact with representatives from federal agencies. Want to learn more about federal nutrition research funding opportunities or get the skinny on the peer review process with a Scientific Review Officer? Meet the people behind the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey? Connect with the Fed program highlights include:
  • Federal Funding Opportunities
  • The NIH Peer Review Process: What You Need to Know
  • The Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research
  • FDA's Nutrition Innovation Strategy and the Updated Nutrition Facts Label
  • Updates from Leaders of the FDA CFSAN, USDA NIFA and Office of the Chief Scientist
  • Update from USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion: From the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to MyPlate - Find out what's new!
  • New Physical Activity Guidelines and other news from the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Using National Dietary Data: Building Blocks to Expand Your Research Portfolio Workshop
  • And more!
Office hours also will be held for attendees to sign up for individual and small group discussions with federal agency nutrition research program officers. Don't miss these unique opportunities tailored specifically for nutrition scientists! More details

Congressional Action
Congress Returns from Recess
On April 29, Congress returns from its two-week recess to focus on preparing appropriation bills, addressing numerous options for improvements to health care, and reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act. Just before the recess, the House postponed action on H.R. 2021 , a proposal to raise the Budget Control Act spending caps, after disagreement over the defense and non-defense spending levels. Preliminary conversations about a budget deal have begun between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and the White House. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (HHS) will mark-up its draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding bill on April 30. In early April, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing on the FY 2020 budget. Other new legislation of interest includes:
  • Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act (S814, H 1840) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Diane DeGette (D-CO) and Tom Reed (R-NY) and in the U.S. Senate by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) will allow Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT) and Medical Nutrition Therapy without deductibles on the same day with referrals from physicians and other Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service providers. Additional time for education will be available when medically necessary.
  • Safe School Meals for Kids Act (S1187), introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would restrict schools from purchasing and serving food that contains even the lowest detectable amount (0.001) of chlorpyrifos and requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to report every two years on compliance with the threshold for the following 10 years.
  • Legislation on Health Care Coverage and Insurance including Medicare for All hearing and Electronic Health Information hearing. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the number of uninsured Americans climbed to 28.9M in 2018 from 27.5M in 2016. 

Administrative Action
Ten-Year NIH Study Finds Community has Impact on Child Health
As reported in the journal Pediatric Obesity , the results of the 10-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded Healthy Communities Study (HCS) found the greater the intensity of community-based nutrition and physical activity programs, the bigger the change in a child's BMI and behaviors, though some communities did not experience statistically significant improvements. T he HCS was not an intervention study, but rather "researchers interviewed over 1,400 key community members from 130 communities, visited the households of over 5,000 children in grades K-8, and abstracted over 30,000 weights and heights from medical records. Over 9,000 community programs and policies were scored on their "intensity" with higher ratings for ones that provided "more" - more time, greater reach or more compulsory participation." The large HCS team includes researchers from The University of California Nutrition Policy Institute , Battelle , the University of Kansas , the University of South Carolina , the NIH , and several other federal agencies. Researchers noted the need to tailor programs to meet individual community characteristics and needs. They also learned that:
  • Different features of community programs and policies were related to better child nutrition and physical activity suggesting that there is likely no 'single' or 'simple' solution to address all the behaviors that contribute to excess weight gain.
  • Improving healthy options for children where they go to school and in their communities and homes is needed to improve diets. Giving information and enhancing skills in making dietary choices should accompany environmental changes.
USDA Issues Report on Nutrition Quality of School Meals
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service released the School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study  (SNMCS) that reports improvements in the concentrations of refined grains, sodium, and empty calories in both school breakfasts and lunches, since enactment of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Over 80% of the lunches and breakfasts met the nutritional standards and higher percentages of schools met requirements for milk, and fruits and vegetables. Ironically, plate waste was highest for vegetables, fruits, and milk. The SNMCS is the first national study of the school meal programs that "has (1) simultaneously examined the nutritional quality of school meals and the cost of producing those meals; (2) assessed students' acceptance of school meals in a quantitative way, using data on the amount of food students waste (plate waste); or (3) examined associations between major outcomes of interest, for example, the association between the nutritional quality of school meals and student participation and the association between the cost and nutritional quality of school meals." The costs to produce meals exceeded USDA reimbursement about 50 cents for lunches and 80 cents for breakfasts. Here is a summary of the study .
USDA Begins Pilot for Online SNAP Purchases
The USDA announced the launch of a pilot program to test online transactions using benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program. The two-year pilot, authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, will begin in New York before expanding to Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington in coming years. It will allow SNAP participants to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to purchase eligible food items through Amazon, Walmart and ShopRite online portals. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) said she "plans to pay close attention to data related to the security of delivery of food to SNAP recipients in hard to reach areas."
USDA Seeks CNPP Deputy Administrator
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP)  seeks a Deputy Administrator. Applications for the Senior Executive position are due by May 7, 2019.
USDA Provides Guidance on Infant Feeding
USDA released new materials to implement new infant meal nutrition standards for the Child and Adult Food program in child care sites. Also included is information on development readiness for solid foods, hunger and fullness signs, and the handling and storing breastmilk and infant formula. Download the guide in English.
New FDA Acting Commissioner Will Stay the Course
At an April 16 meeting , Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Ned Sharpless assured the FDA staff that he will tackle the broad activities that Scott Gottlieb had begun and will put forward his own priorities soon. Several recent actions of FDA include:
  • FDA Provides New Resources on Menu Labeling - FDA has created a new website Calories on the Menu - Information for Consumers that provides educational materials to fill gaps in consumer understanding, such as the number of calories that are needed in a day, how to find calories on the menu, on grab-and-go items, and on salad bars and how to use this information to make choices.
  • FDA Advances Efforts on Supplement Safety - FDA launched a new tool, new dietary supplement ingredient advisory list on the FDA website that alerts the public about unsafe ingredients in dietary supplements. Here's the statement from Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. To stay informed, the public can sign up to receive notice of updates and changes to the List.
Dietary Supplements Receive Attention at DHHS
In the NIH Directors Blog , NIH Director Francis Collins writes about the results from a six-year NIH study that found individuals do not derive additional benefits from dietary supplements than from food. Collins noted that "mortality benefits from adequate intakes of vitamin A, vitamin K, zinc, magnesium and copper were limited to food consumption," based on research by Dr. Fang Fang Zhang from Tufts University.
CDC Issues Resources for Healthy Meals in Food Service
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised Smart Food Choices: How to Implement Food Service Guidelines in Public Facilities to align with the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities.
USDA ERS Employees May Soon Vote to Unionize
According to a Washington Post article , Chris Hartley, Acting Administrator of the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) told his employees to expect to receive relocation notices in mid-May and act on them within 120 days. The number of ERS employees has dropped from 300 to 250 in the past two years, and the President's 2020 budget proposed cutting the number to 160. As an effort to postpone the proposed moves, ERS employees are likely to seek a vote to unionize .

National Initiatives
Slides Available for A Health Equity Approach to Obesity Efforts
The Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) posted speaker slides from the April 1st workshop, "A Health Equity Approach to Obesity Efforts." Also available are a bibliography of background materials provided by the speakers and video recordings of each presentation.
NASEM Releases Workshop on Sustainable Diets
NASEM released the proceedings of the August 1-2, 2018 workshop on Sustainable Diets, Food, and Nutrition that reviewed the current and emerging knowledge on the concept of sustainable diets within the field of food and nutrition. This publication summarizes the discussions that took place throughout the workshop, which explored how sustainable diets could impact dietary patterns, the food system, and population and public health. Broadly, the workshop explored sustainable diets and relevant impacts for cross-sector partnerships, policy, and research.
New Standards for Sustainable Diets Issued
Harvard University has developed new " healthy, sustainable" food standards  to encourage students, faculty, staff and visitors consume healthy, culturally appropriate and sustainable foods according to The Harvard Gazette. The basis for developing these goals were The Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard C.T. Chan School of Public Health " Menus of Change " and the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health .
California Introduces Climate-Friendly Surcharge
The California Food and Agriculture Secretary released a new plan that permits diners to pay an optional 1 percent surcharge to help fund climate-friendly farm practices . The money would go into a "healthy soil carbon fund" for farmers and ranchers who use cover crops, composting or other practices for carbon dioxide sequestration.
Global Food Waste Consortium
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), The Rockefeller Foundation and Iowa State University launched the Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction . The consortium expects that "thought leaders and experts from across the globe will work in tandem with industry and nonprofit organizations to address social, economic and environmental impacts from food loss and waste."
New Report on Data from VHK grants
Voices for Healthy Kids (VHK), a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released its 2018 Progress Report , describing five years for policy initiatives. From 2013-2018, the report indicates that 167 policy campaigns were funded leading to 144 policies being adopted. Several winning campaigns to increase health equity, improve access to healthy foods and physical activity, and improve the places where families live, learn, work, and play are described.
Weight of the World Presents New Motivation to Lose Weight
Through  WeightOfTheWorld.com ,   individuals can share real stories about their journey with weight on a safe and secure platform. ASN members working with patients to manage weight may share this resource for gaining insights from others addressing weight concerns.  
Potential Health Impact of Added-sugar Labeling
In Circulation, the American Heart Association presented a new study, " Cost-effectiveness of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added-sugar labeling policy for improving diet and health" . The researchers based the results on reductions of sugar consumption that could result from implementation of the added-sugar information on the nutrition label and the reformulation of products to reduce the sugar content. A validated microsimulation model was used to estimate impact on cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus cases diverted.    

FDA Public Meeting to Discuss Responsible Innovation in Dietary Supplements
May 16, 2019 ; 8:30am-4:00pm EDT
FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
Wiley Auditorium, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD
Register for meeting here .
Request to make oral presentation deadline - May 1, 2019
Upcoming Webinar: Fuel for Active Bodies: Increasing Access to Healthy Foods
Wednesday, May 8, 2019; 2:00-3:00pm EDT (11:00am-12:00pm Pacific)

Funding Opportunities
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Evidence for Action
The RWJF's Evidence for Action (E4A) program  has updated its call for proposals with applications now accepted on a rolling basis, and with no deadlines for submission. Click here  for more information.
Danone Institute North America: One Planet. One Health Initiative
Danone North America is soliciting proposals for its new initiative to give students, faculty, and community members the opportunity to design, implement and evaluate actionable community-based projects on sustainable food systems. More details about the program can be found here . Applications are due June 1st, 2019.
American Pecan Council to Fund Cardiovascular Health and Weight Management Research
The American Pecan Council intends to fund clinical research in the areas of cardiovascular health and weight management. To download the Request for Proposal, visit here . Submissions must be received by June 28, 2019.

Worldwide Child Malnutrition Remains a Problem
UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank released a new report , Child Malnutrition Estimate, that contains data on both stunting and obesity worldwide. These data show that although stunting has decreased from 32.5 percent in 2000, 22 percent of children worldwide remain stunted today. Yet, today, over 40 million children worldwide are overweight or obese, an increase of 10 million from 2000. Africa and Asia bear the largest burden of malnutrition.
WHO Drops Support for EAT-Lancet Commission Recommendations
The British Medical Journal reports "the WHO pulled out of sponsoring a global initiative promoting healthier and sustainable diets across the world after pressure from an Italian official who raised concerns about the impact of the diet on people's health and livelihoods." This decision reflects concern that dropping animal foods from a diet could "destroy traditional diets which are part of the cultural heritage" and carry negative economic impact for those raising animals and producing the foods whose consumption the report discourages.
WHO: Climate Change May Affect Food Safety
The WHO issued a statement on   Food Safety, Climate Change and the Role of WHO. WHO  reviewed the research that is quickly evolving on the impact of climate change on food safety and identified several possible, but not all, consequences. The organization cited "the persistence and occurrence of bacteria, viruses, parasites, harmful algae, fungi and their vectors, and the patterns of their corresponding foodborne diseases and risk of toxic contamination. Alongside these impacts, chemical residues of pesticides and veterinary medicines in plant and animal products will be affected by changes in pest pressure. The risk of food contamination with heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants following changes in crop varieties cultivated, cultivation methods, soils, redistribution of sediments and long-range atmospheric transport, increases because of climate changes."