The University of California's Nutrition Policy Institute released brief training videos to aid family child care home providers in promoting proper nutrition among young children. Current California law mandates only an hour of nutrition training for child care providers licensed after 2015, omitting over 30,000 providers who care for nearly 310,000 children. To address this gap, NPI has unveiled seven brief videos, each under 60 seconds, in English and Spanish. These videos, which can be freely used by educators, align with evidence-based recommendations for what and how to feed infants and toddlers. They were developed for the one-hour online trainings, "Infant and Toddler Feeding Recommendations for Family Child Care Home Providers," available in Spanish as well. While California providers can access the trainings for free, those outside the state can access them for $15. Each training concludes with a completion certificate. The UC Nutrition Policy Institute collaborated with UCSF California Childcare Health Program, UCSF School of Nursing, UC Cooperative Extension, and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources News and Outreach in Spanish for this project, supported by a UC ANR grant.
Easy access to safe and appealing drinking water is important throughout the school day for students and staff and is required as part of school foodservice, including for school year 2021-2022. Schools may have turned off drinking water fountains during the pandemic, however, the virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in drinking water and the risk of contracting COVID-19 from surfaces is considered to be low. A new infographic to help schools understand how to safely reopen drinking water fountains was developed by researchers affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research Network. Co-authors include Angie Cradock from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Christina Hecht from the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute and coordinator of the National Drinking Water Alliance, Caitlin Merlo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Anisha Patel from Stanford. The infographic was also featured in a California School Boards Association blog post.
The USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) is an evidence-based program that helps low-income individuals live healthier lives through education, social marketing, and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes. Known as CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL) in California, SNAP-Ed is overseen by the California Department of Social Services and implemented by four state implementing agencies and the local implementing agencies (LIAs) that they fund. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is one of four state implementing agencies and funds 60 local health departments. Beginning in 2018, California's LIAs use the Program Evaluation and Reporting System (PEARS) to report their CFHL activities and interventions. The Nutrition Policy Institute serves as CDPH's evaluation contractor for its CFHL program; NPI's PEARS team, Carolyn Rider, Janice Kao, Evan Talmage, and Christina Becker, provide technical and evaluation assistance to CDPH and its LIAs for PEARS reporting. They authored a new report which presents the background, definitions, and methods used by CDPH and its funded local health departments for reporting CFHL interventions implemented throughout California during Federal Fiscal Year 2020. The report, titled “Background on Local Health Department Reporting of CalFresh Healthy Living Programs in the Program Evaluation and Reporting System, FFY 2020”, also details challenges in reporting CFHL activities and gives recommendations to improve reporting.
Since the Flint Water Crisis—the 2014 watershed moment for public health and drinking water safety in Flint, Michigan—public concern over drinking water safety, especially for children, has only grown. The National Drinking Water Alliance (NDWA) maintains an interactive map that provides a database of news stories on tap water exceedances of regulated contaminants since 2015. A recent update adds over 235 new map points with links to documenting news articles, with nearly half of the incidents emerging since 2019. The map also includes information on state policies and programs to test for lead in school drinking water. Almost one-third of US states have enacted legislation providing policy to test for lead in drinking water in schools and, in some cases, in child care centers. Policies for mandatory testing have recently passed in Oregon and Vermont. New legislative proposals are underway in Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, and Connecticut. Voluntary programs are now present in every state, funded by nationwide federal grants supporting testing in child care facilities and schools. More information on each state's actions can be found on the interactive map, which was updated by Nutrition Policy Institute intern, Laurel Denyer, a recent University of California, Davis graduate. The NDWA is coordinated by Christina Hecht of the Nutrition Policy Institute. For more information, and to propose additions to the map, please contact the NDWA at DWAalliance@ucanr.edu.
The Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation has released a new interactive resource for Indigenous communities and all communities interested in increasing consumption of drinking water in place of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). The resource, Increase Healthy Beverage Consumption and Reduce Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs): A Community Roadmap, displays easy-to-understand concepts, developed from high-level research. The resources guides users through five steps, each offering specific information, links and resources. It was created in partnership with the NB3 Foundation, the National Tribal Water Center, and the Nutrition Policy Institute's (NPI) Christina Hecht and Laura Vollmer, who coordinate NPI's National Drinking Water Alliance.