Selected Food Program Descriptions and Websites
FOOD PROGRAMS FOR INFANTS AND CHILDREN
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) (http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic) provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and nonbreastfeeding postpartum women, and for infants and children up to age 5 years who are found to be at nutritional risk. WIC food packages and nutrition education are the principal means by which WIC affects the dietary quality and habits of participants. The food packages have been revised recently to promote and support the establishment of successful, long-term breastfeeding; to provide WIC participants with a wider variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; to limit milk choices to nonfat and low-fat milk for children ages 2 years and older; and to limit sources of added sugars (USDA/FNS, 2010a).
National School Lunch, Breakfast, and Snack Programs
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/AboutLunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Breakfast/AboutBFast/SBPFactSheet.pdf) are both federally assisted meal programs that provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals to schoolchildren. In fiscal year 2009, the NSLP provided lunches to more than 31 million children, and the SBP
served breakfasts to more than 11.1 million children each school day. Under the NSLP, reimbursement is available for snacks served to children in afterschool educational and enrichment programs to include children through 18 years of age (USDA/FNS, 2009a, 2010b). This program is separate from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) afterschool program. Regulations for these programs are being updated to bring them into better alignment with the current Dietary Guidelines.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
Schools with the highest enrollment of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch are given priority for participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/FFVP/FFVPdefault.htm). The program is intended to benefit low-income children that generally have limited opportunities to consume fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Many school-age children who are participants in a day care or afterschool program that participates in CACFP also benefit from the FFVP. The FFVP was initiated as a pilot program in 2002 and made permanent in 2004 in response to concerns about the increase in childhood obesity. The goal of the FFVP is to help children learn more healthful eating habits by introducing schoolchildren to a variety of produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to taste and consume (USDA/FNS, 2010c).
Special Milk Program
The Special Milk Program (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Milk/Default.htm) provides milk to children in schools and child care institutions that do not participate in federal meal programs. Schools or institutions may serve pasteurized fluid types of unflavored or flavored whole milk, low-fat milk, skim milk, and cultured buttermilk. Schools that participate in the NSLP or SBP may also participate in the Special Milk Program as a way to provide milk to children in half-day prekindergarten and kindergarten programs where they do not have access to the school meal programs (USDA/FNS, 2009b).
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Summer) is the single largest federal resource available for local organizations that want to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program for children (USDA/FNS, 2010d). The program provides free, nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas throughout
the summer months when school is not in session. Locally, SFSP is administered by approved sponsors, including school districts, local government agencies, camps, or private nonprofit organizations. Sponsors provide free meals to children at a central site, such as a school, a community park, or a community center.
PROGRAMS RELEVANT TO BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS
Low-income households of child and/or adult participants in CACFP may benefit from participation in the following programs, among others:
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program1) (http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/) The goal of SNAP is to help low-income households buy the food they need for good health (USDA/FNS, 2010e).
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (http://www.fns. usda.gov/fdd/programs/csfp) The goal of this program is to improve the health of low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, other new mothers up to 1 year postpartum, infants, children up to age 6 years, and elderly people at least 60 years of age (USDA/FNS, 2010f) by providing an assortment of nutritious USDA foods.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (http://www.fns.usda. gov/fdd/programs/tefap) This program provides emergency food and nutrition assistance to supplement the diets of low-income persons of any age (USDA/FNS, 2010g).
PROGRAMS RELEVANT BOTH TO ADULTS
Older Americans Act Nutrition Program (http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/aoaprograms/hcltc/nutrition_services/index.aspx) Its purpose is “to reduce hunger and food insecurity; promote socialization of older individuals; [and] promote the health and well-being of older individuals and delay adverse health conditions through access to nutrition and other disease prevention and health promotion services” (HHS/AoA, 2010). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging (HHS/AoA), the federal agency administrator, works through an Aging Network to deliver supportive services including transportation, protection of vulnerable elders, and nutrition. This network consists of 56 State Units on Aging, 629 Area Agencies on Aging, 244 tribal
organizations, and 2 Native Hawaiian organizations, thousands of service providers (including adult care centers), caregivers, and volunteers, plus an estimated 12,000 senior centers nationwide.
Programs and services are targeted to low-income, minority, and rural older adults. Adults ages 60 years and older are eligible for congregate or home-delivered meals and other services. Meals must provide at least one-third of the Dietary Reference Intakes for older adults and must meet the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To do so, guidance was most recently provided in a Nutrition Service Providers Guide for Older Adults (HHS/AoA, 2006).
The program is not means-tested (i.e., eligibility is not based on income); participants may make voluntary confidential donations for meals. About 241 million congregate and home-delivered meals are served to 2.6 million older adults annually (HHS/AoA, 2010). The Nutrition Program reaches fewer than one-third of needy older adults, and those served receive on average three meals/week. Participants have two to three chronic health problems. Body mass indexes of participants are two-thirds more likely to be abnormal than nonrecipients, with those able to leave the home more likely to be overweight or obese, and those who are homebound more likely to be underweight (Kamp et al., 2010).
HHS/AoA (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Administration on Aging). 2006. Nutrition Service Providers Guide for Older Adults: Parts I and II. http://www.health. gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/toolkit/#older_adults (accessed October 12, 2010).
HHS/AoA. 2010. Nutrition Services (OAA Title IIIC). http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/aoa_ programs/hcltc/nutrition_services/index.aspx#purpose (accessed October 12, 2010).
Kamp, B. J., N. S. Wellman, and C. Russell. 2010. Position of the American Dietetic Association, American Society for Nutrition, and Society for Nutrition Education: Food and nutrition programs for community-residing older adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110(3):463–472.
USDA/FNS (U.S. Department of Agriculture/Food and Nutrition Service). 2009a. National School Lunch Program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/AboutLunch/NSLPFact Sheet.pdf(accessed October 19, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2009b. Special Milk Program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Milk/Default.htm (accessed October 19, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2010a. Women, Infants, and Children. http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/ (accessed March 24, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2010b. School Breakfast Program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Breakfast/AboutBFast/SBPFactSheet.pdf (accessed October 19, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2010c. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/FFVP/FFVPdefault.htm (accessed October 19, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2010d. Summer Food Service Program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Summer/ (accessed October 18, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2010e. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ (accessed October 18, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2010f. Commodity Supplemental Food Program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/csfp/ (accessed October 18, 2010).
USDA/FNS. 2010g. The Emergency Food Assistance Program. http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap/ (accessed October 18, 2010).