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U.S. Government Food Program Needs Improving: Report
Date:11/4/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Healthier foods should be served to children and adults in day care facilities that get meals and snacks through a federally sponsored food program, a new U.S. government report says.

The report from the Institute of Medicine calls for more fruits and vegetables and less fat, salt and sugar.

Many of the most needy children and adults rely on the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Suzanne P. Murphy, chair of the committee that reviewed the food program, said during a Thursday morning press conference.

"The current CACFP guidelines and regulations, however, are based on nutrition and health guidance that is nearly 20 years old," she said.

Food insecurity -- the uncertainty of having enough food to meet a family's basic needs -- is rising in the United States, and childhood obesity is soaring, added Murphy, a researcher and professor at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

The report, titled Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All, calls for bringing the nutritional standards of the CACFP in line with the dietary guidelines used in other U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food programs, including the national school lunch and breakfast programs. The USDA funded the study.

CACFP is designed to help family day care homes, child-care and after-school centers, adult care programs, emergency shelters and other facilities to offer nutritious meals and snacks to people from low-income families.

Under the CACFP program, facilities are reimbursed for foods that meet CACFP standards.

About 3 million children and 114,000 adults received meals and snacks through the program in fiscal year 2010, according to the IOM.

In its recommendations, the IOM builds on existing CACFP standards, which set minimum amounts of foods
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