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The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians H.R. 1324 School Nutrition Standards May, 2009 ACTION REQUEST: The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) asks for the enactment of H.R. 1324, legislation to update national school nutrition standards for junk foods sold on campus. AANP strongly supports the passage of H.R. 1324 introduced in the House by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). This legislation, which has strong bipartisan support, will amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 by updating the definition of “food of minimal nutritional value.” The bill requires establishment of science-based standards for the foods sold along side the federally subsidized breakfast and lunch programs on school campuses. (In the 110th Congress, Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Aka.) introduced Senate companion legislation S. 771.) In 1979, Congress passed legislation that prohibited the sale of “food of minimal nutritional value” in meals served by schools. Currently this restriction only applies to “soda water,” “water ices” that contain no juice, chewing gum and certain candies. This definition is outdated and inconsistent with scientific knowledge about healthy eating. Research shows that only two percent of children eat a healthy diet and three-out-of-four high school students do not eat the recommended minimum servings of fruits and vegetables. Not surprisingly, the obesity rate among children and adolescents has nearly tripled and Type II diabetes is increasing dramatically in children. A large part of the obesity problem stems from children eating foods that are low in nutrients and high in sugar and calories, such as refined, processed, and fried foods. Enactment of this resolution will require the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate new rules to revise the definition of “food of minimal nutritional value” with which schools must comply. These new regulations would apply to all foods sold on a school campus, whether from the cafeteria or an on-campus store. Specifically, the positive or negative impact of food ingredients, such as nutrients, portion sizes, fats, sodium and sugars, would be assessed in determining which foods meet the new criteria. Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are the physician-level experts on natural medicine and the use of herbs and supplements. Trained in the basic medical sciences and conventional diagnostics, naturopathic education also includes therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, pharmacology and minor surgery. NDs practice true preventive and primary health care – engaging patients in health promotion and treating those with chronic disease to manage the entirety of their health.
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