February 15, 2015

A bright spot

Last week I mentioned some welcome good news (a rare thing these days) about progress in child nutrition in West Virginia. Here's a little more about that.

In the wake of the passage of the 2013 Feed to Achieve Act, the 2010 federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, and some great  leadership from the WV Office of Child Nutrition, WV leads the nation in school breakfast participation.

This really is a big deal since many kids in WV lack basic food security and since a healthy breakfast improves learning, health and behavior. WV has also been an early leader in adopting the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) in most counties. CEP allows school boards to provide free meals to all kids in schools where 40 percent or more of kids are directly certified to be low income.

What is particularly dramatic about WV's performance is the fact that breakfast participation has shot up from 29 percent in 2009 to 51 percent in 2014. This is largely due to the fact that more and more counties have adopted new breakfast delivery systems, like grab and go and breakfast in the classroom.

The ultimate goal of child nutrition advocates is to make free, nutritious meals available to all children as just another basic part of the school day. And we're moving in that direction.

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