Date: Nov. 14, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Changes Needed to Improve Nutrition of Meals and Snacks Provided Through Federally Supported Day Care Food Program For Children and Adults
WASHINGTON — Meals and snacks served to children and adults at day care facilities through a federally supported food program should contain increased amounts and varieties of vegetables and fruits and less fat, salt, and added sugars, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The report's recommendations will bring the nutrition standards of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in line with the latest nutrition science and dietary guidelines used in other federal food programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.
CACFP is a U.S. Department of Agriculture food program that helps facilities such as family day care homes, traditional child care centers, places that offer care outside of school hours, adult care facilities, and emergency shelters provide nutritious meals and snacks to children and adults from low-income families. The program reimburses sites for the foods they serve if they meet CACFP standards. Roughly 3 million children and 114,000 functionally impaired adults and other adults over age 60 received meals and snacks through the program in fiscal year 2010. See http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/care for more information.
The report builds on existing CACFP requirements for meals, such as specifying a minimum amount of foods in each meal and excluding soft drinks and candy. The report also calls for each meal to include one serving of fruit and two of vegetables and for the amount of dark green and orange vegetables served each week to increase while limiting starchy vegetables to no more than twice a week. Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried forms are all acceptable. Vegetables may be cooked any way except fried. Juice should be 100 percent fruit juice without added sugars, should not be given to children less than a year old, and should be limited to once a day for older day care participants.
In addition, at least half of the grain products served should be rich in whole grains. Baked or fried grain products that are high in fat and added sugars would be allowed only once a week. Day care facilities should limit their use of foods and ingredients that are high in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars; controlling fats and added sugars will help keep calories in check. Sites should use vegetable oils and limited amounts of salt when preparing meals. Meats should be lean; soy products, beans, eggs, nuts, and other meat alternatives may be used.
Healthy infants should receive only breast milk or formula until they reach six months, when day care sites should gradually introduce baby foods. Children should be given whole milk until age 2. Milk provided to participants age 2 and older should contain no more than 1 percent fat.
Day care providers will need resources and assistance to comply with the changes, noted the committee that wrote the report. USDA personnel should work with state agencies and health professionals to help participating sites plan menus and purchase and prepare foods. USDA will need to re-evaluate and streamline the way CACFP monitors facilities' compliance with the standards and reimburses them.
"The meals and snacks made possible through the Child and Adult Care Food Program are an important source of nutrition for millions of children and tens of thousands of adults," said committee chair Suzanne P. Murphy, researcher, professor, and director of the Nutrition Support Shared Resource, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu. "This report points the way to updating the program's meal requirements so that they reflect the latest nutrition science. The changes recommended will help program beneficiaries get more of the nutrients they need without getting too many calories and will promote lifelong healthy eating habits."
The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org. A committee roster follows.
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Report in Brief
Pre-publication copies of Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu. Additional information on the study is available at http://iom.edu/cacfp. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).
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INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
Food and Nutrition Board
Committee to Review Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Requirements
Suzanne P. Murphy, Ph.D., R.D. (chair)
Researcher and Professor
Cancer Research Center of Hawaii
University of Hawaii
Norma D. Birckhead, B.S.
Child and Adult Care Food Program
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Alicia L. Carriquiry, Ph.D.
Professor of Statistics
Iowa State University
Ronni Chernoff, Ph.D, R.D., FADA, CSG
Arkansas Geriatric Education Center;
Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System; and
Professor of Geriatrics
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Sonia Cotto-Moreno, M.P.H., R.D., L.D.
Child Care Food Program Director
Migrant Seasonal Head Start Program
Teaching and Mentoring Communities
Karen Weber Cullen, Dr.P.H., R.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Mary Kay Fox, M.Ed.
Mathematica Policy Research Inc.
Geraldine Henchy, M.P.H., R.D.
Director of Nutrition Policy and Early Childhood Programs
Food Research Action Center
Helen H. Jensen, Ph.D.
Department of Economics
Iowa State University
Charlene Russell-Tucker, M.S.M., R.D.
Connecticut Department of Education
Virginia A. Stallings, M.D.
Jean A. Cortner Endowed Chair in Pediatric
Director of the Nutrition Center
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Katherine L. Tucker, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Health Sciences
Anne L. Yaktine, Ph.D.