Dear Ms. Namian,
I applaud USDA for raising the bar on nutrition standards for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which serves meals and snacks to over 3 million children in settings such as child care centers, day care homes, and after-school programs. I am pleased that USDA is dedicated to making a good program even better with updated standards—changes that I believe are well worth the effort to promote the future health of our nation’s children.
It’s important that USDA move forward with a final regulation, because meals based on strong nutritional standards, rooted in science, can establish healthy dietary habits early in a child’s development and help to mitigate obesity and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In particular, I support the administration’s proposal to:
- Ensure that children are served a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, with reasonable limits on juice.
- Encourage inclusion of more whole-grain-rich foods in meals and snacks.
- Reduce the availability of fried foods, which are higher in saturated and trans fats.
In addition, I recommend USDA strengthen the proposal by:
- Ensuring no sugar-sweetened beverages are served in child care facilities.
- Prohibiting flavored milk served to children up to age 5.
- Including as a best practice the elimination of deep-fried or flash-fried frozen foods.
- Expanding resources for training and technical assistance to child care providers, who may need help in making the transition to healthier meal and snack service.
I thank USDA for its effort on this important issue.
The new CACFP proposed standards meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which promote a healthful diet that helps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and USDA have jointly published the Dietary Guidelines every five years since 1980.