Food and Nutrition | Policy Briefs

Combating Obesity by Enhancing Activity: Evaluating the Safe Routes to School Program

July 2016. Physical activity is one of the most important factors for preventing obesity. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs have shown national success in increasing childhood activity levels, reducing pedestrian injury levels, and diminishing medical costs over time. School district liability, disagreements on where the responsibility for obesity prevention lies, and diminished Federal funding represent the greatest impediments to SRTS implementation and sustainability.

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Cottage Food Production in Minnesota: Arguments for Expanding Access and Potential Risks

July 2016. Cottage foods are those foods produced in a home (non-commercial) kitchen for sale to others. Minnesota currently restricts cottage food sales to those defined as ‘not potentially hazardous’ and certain home-processed and canned products. However, current MN statute does not require home kitchen facilities to be inspected, and those preparing foods are not required to seek licensure or permits for their business. There are no labeling requirements for ingredients or allergens to be listed.

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Current Challenges in Determining the Impact of Food Deserts on Urban childhood Nutrition and Health

May 2015. ‘Food desert’ is an emotionally charged term with no commonly accepted definition. Many urban residents have limited access to healthful and affordable foods, and children are most vulnerable to the growth and health impacts of poor nutrition. Numerous interventions have been proposed to address food deserts, however, limited scientific evaluations have been found that examine their specific impact on childhood health.

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Seafood Fraud in the United States: Current Science and Policy Options

February 2015. Seafood is an important source of dietary protein in the United States (US), with approximately 90% of the seafood imported. Although intentional mislabeling of seafood products is illegal, seafood fraud is widespread in the US. Seafood fraud poses significant economic, public health, and environmental concerns, but the complexity, size, and diversity of the international seafood trade makes effective regulation and prevention of seafood fraud challenging.

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School Meal Regulations and Child Nutrition: Environmental Approaches to Improve Intake

April 2014. The School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) requirements have recently been updated to improve the healthfulness of school meals. For these changes to improve children’s health status, efforts must be made to increase the acceptance and consumption of the available healthful foods. Behavioral economic approaches change the choice architecture to make the healthful choice the default option;often healthful choices are more convenient or visually appealing than less healthful choices. Thus, these approaches can nudge students toward healthful choices and increase intake of healthful foods.

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Food Loss and Waste in the US: The Science Behind the Supply Chain

April 2014. Roughly 40% of the United States (US) food supply (1500 calories/person/day) is never eaten, which is among the highest rates of food lossi globally. Addressing this loss could help reduce food insecurity and the environmental impacts of agriculture. Tremendous resources are used to produce uneaten food in the US: 30% of fertilizer, 31% of cropland, 25% of total freshwater consumption, and 2% of total energy consumption. Food waste generated when people discard food in homes and foodservice accounts for 60% of food loss, is mostly avoidable.

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