December 24, 2018


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Trump Administration Signs Farm Bill, but Proposes Restrictions for SNAP Recipients

Congress was able to approve a new Farm Bill (H.R.2) this month by removing the controversial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work restrictions which had bogged down legislative discussions, and had troubled health advocates, for several months. This week, while signing the new Farm Bill with one hand, President Trump's Administration used the other to introduce a new federal regulatory proposal that would tighten SNAP work restrictions and effectively circumvent the course laid by Congress. Hundreds of thousands of eligible SNAP recipients would be affected. 

"Long-term reliance on government assistance has never been part of the American dream," said U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue. "As we make benefits available to those who truly need them, we must also encourage participants to take proactive steps toward self-sufficiency."

The proposal seeks to significantly reduce the areas where work waivers can be issued for SNAP assistance based on local unemployment rate, and also to reduce waiver length from one year to two. According to the USDA, if the rule change is enacted, roughly 755,000 recipients would lose food stamp benefits as a result of the new waiver restrictions.

Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) President James D. Weill responded on Thursday. "The Administration now proposes to politicize the process at the state level, reduce the ability of states to follow Congress' intent, and arbitrarily narrow states' ability to waive the time limit in areas with insufficient jobs," said Weill. "Its action flies in the face of congressional intent, coming just days after Congress passed a new Farm Bill that left the current area waiver provisions in place. The Administration's release of its proposed rule sends struggling people a cruel message this holiday season - not one of hope and goodwill, but one of greater hunger and hardship if the rule is adopted."

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) also weighed in on development from her Twitter account:

The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) will evaluate the regulatory proposal and keep partners informed of developments, opportunities to comment, and potential calls to action. 
 
SNAP News & Analysis: 
New SNAP Rules Encourage Productivity Instead of Poverty 
USA Today (Op-Ed from Sonny Perdue)

Source: USDA
Study Shows School-Based Nutritional Programs Reduce Childhood Obesity

A study by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and the Yale School of Public Health finds that students attending schools with nutrition policy support displayed better BMI trajectories compared to students in the "physical activity only" or "no support" schools. Nutrition policies included guidance such as no food rewards, healthier celebrations and nutrition education. The study also found that students in the nutrition-policy schools consumed fewer sugar-sweetened beverages and were less likely to have fast food. The beneficial effects on student weight increased over time, with the greatest difference showing at students in 8th grade.

"This is some of the strongest evidence we have to date that nutrition education and promoting healthy eating behaviors in the classroom and cafeteria can have a meaningful impact on children's health," says Marlene Schwartz, Rudd Center Director and senior study author. "These findings can inform how we approach federal wellness policy requirements and implementation in schools to help mitigate childhood obesity."

CHILDHOOD OBESITY IN THE NEWS

FUNDING & RECOGNITION OPPORTUNITIES
  • The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program provides funding for important and influential projects that leverage federal funding and build momentum for bicycling in communities across the U.S. These projects include bike paths and rail trails, as well as mountain bike trails, bike parks, BMX facilities, and large-scale bicycle advocacy initiatives. PeopleForBikes accepts grant applications from non-profit organizations with a focus on bicycling, active transportation, or community development, from city or county agencies or departments, and from state or federal agencies working locally. PeopleForBikes only funds projects in the United States. Grant guidelines are posted at http://peopleforbikes.org/grant-guidelines/.

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    The on-line application process can be accessed at http://peopleforbikes.org/apply-now/
T he Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) is a nationally recognized leader for community-based obesity prevention. We support, coordinate, and unite partners to promote healthy and active lifestyles for children and families. Our multi-sector approach emerged in Chicago and can be adapted for use anywhere.