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Background: While a member of the Senate in 2007,  President Obama sponsored the following physical education and nutrition bill. While it didn’t gain much traction in Congress at the time, perhaps this is the direction we are headed? I do like the fact that CDC and NASPE appear to be involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation phases.

What’s Missing? For me, there will need to be an associated focus on teacher accountability and a practical way to track and monitor student success in meeting state standards over time.

To quote a former North Carolina school district superintendent – “You get what you inspect.”

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To establish nutrition and physical education standards for schools.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 18, 2007

Mr. OBAMA introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry


A BILL

To establish nutrition and physical education standards for schools.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Back to School: Improving Standards for Nutrition and Physical Education in Schools Act of 2007′.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

(1) National data show that 1 out of every 3 children and youth, or about 25,000,000 children and youth, in the United States are overweight or obese. There is clear evidence that this epidemic of excess weight and obesity is due to excessive dietary intake and sedentary activity.

(2) The foods served in the school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the school breakfast program established by section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 are required to meet Federal nutrition guidelines and comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Competitive foods and beverages, purchased by children and youth outside of the federally reimbursed school lunch and breakfast programs, are only required to meet limited nutrition standards pertaining to `foods of minimal nutritional value’.

(3) The Secretary of Agriculture defined the term `foods of minimal nutritional value’ for competitive foods and beverages in 1979. This definition is not consistent with current scientific evidence regarding nutrition.

(4) In response to a request by Congress, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences developed science-based nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages offered during the school day, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

(5) Because all foods and beverages available on a school campus provide significant calories, they should be required to meet those science-based nutrition standards.

(6) Currently, government, scientific, and public health agencies recommend guidelines suggesting that school-age children and youth engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, that is developmentally appropriate and that involves a variety of activities, on most of the 7 days of the week. However, more than 1/3 of children and youth do not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity. The percentages of children that meet the recommended guidelines are 5 to 10 percentage points lower among ethnic minorities than among whites.

(7) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 8 percent of elementary schools, 6.4 percent of middle and junior high schools, and 5.8 percent of senior high schools offered daily physical education during the school year. Daily student participation in high school physical education classes dropped from 42 percent in 1991 to 28 percent in 2003.

(8)(A) Key methods of improving the physical activity of children and youth are–

(i) ensuring that classes meet national standards for physical education that have been embraced by States and local educational agencies; and

(ii) ensuring that teachers are adequately trained to implement those standards.

(B) The National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support the use of the National Standards for Physical Education as a framework that can be used to design, implement, and evaluate quality physical education curricula.

(9) Physical education classes for children and youth are not consistently required to meet those national standards. Forty-three States allow classroom teachers, without any training in physical education, to teach physical education.

(10) Children should participate in physical education classes based on standards grounded in science, to ensure quality programs. Adequate and well-trained teachers are needed to ensure the implementation of those quality programs.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHING AND IMPLEMENTING NUTRITION STANDARDS FOR SCHOOL FOODS.

(a) Definition of Nutrition Standards- In this section:

(1) ESTABLISHED NUTRITION STANDARDS- The term `established nutrition standards’ means the nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages in schools described in the report of the Institute of Medicine entitled `Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth’ and dated April 25, 2007.

(2) NUTRITION STANDARDS- The term `nutrition standards’ means the nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages in schools.

(3) SCHOOL- The term `school’ means a school that participates in the reimbursable school meal programs under–

(A) the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.); or

(B) the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.).

(4) UPDATED NUTRITION STANDARDS- The term `updated nutrition standards’ means the nutrition standards used as the basis for regulations promulgated under subsection (b)(4).

(b) Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value-

(1) PROPOSED REGULATIONS BASED ON ESTABLISHED NUTRITION STANDARDS-

(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall promulgate proposed regulations to revise the definition of `foods of minimal nutritional value’ that is used to carry out this Act, the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, to be consistent with the established nutrition standards, in accordance with recommendations contained in the report described in subsection (a).

(B) APPLICATION- The revised definition of `foods of minimal nutritional value’ shall apply to all foods and beverages sold–

(i) independent of the reimbursable school meal programs carried out under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.);

(ii) on the school campus; and

(iii) at any time during the school day.

(2) IMPLEMENTATION OF REGULATIONS BASED ON ESTABLISHED NUTRITION STANDARDS-

(A) EFFECTIVE DATE-

(i) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in clause (ii), the final regulations to revise the definition as described in paragraph (1) shall take effect at the beginning of the school year following the date on which the regulations are finalized.

(ii) EXCEPTION- If the regulations are finalized on a date that is not more than 60 days before the beginning of the school year, the regulations shall take effect at the beginning of the following school year.

(B) FAILURE TO PROMULGATE- If the Secretary of Agriculture has not promulgated final regulations as of the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the proposed regulations shall be considered to be final regulations.

(3) RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REVISED NUTRITION STANDARDS-

(A) STUDY- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and not less than every 5 years thereafter, the Secretary of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the Secretary of Agriculture shall enter into an arrangement with the Institute of Medicine under which the Institute shall conduct a study to develop recommendations regarding necessary updates for nutrition standards to ensure that–

(i) the most current scientific knowledge (as of the date of the study) is included in information used to establish the nutrition standards; and

(ii) the nutrition standards are consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (as of the date of the study), with specifications for different age groups and other segments of the population as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

(B) REPORT- The Institute of Medicine shall prepare and submit a report containing the recommendations described in subparagraph (A), under each arrangement described in subsection (a), to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Agriculture, appropriate committees of Congress, and the general public.

(4) REGULATIONS BASED ON UPDATED NUTRITION STANDARDS- Not later than 3 months after receiving a report under paragraph (3), the Secretary of Agriculture shall promulgate regulations to revise the definition described in paragraph (1)(A), taking into consideration the recommendations for nutrition standards contained in the report. The revised definition shall apply to all foods and beverages described in paragraph (1)(B).

(5) USE- The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture shall take into consideration the established nutrition standards or updated nutrition standards, as appropriate, during the proposal and issuance of any regulation for any Federal program that provides or subsidizes foods or beverages.

(c) Task Force To Establish a User Friendly Identification System for Foods and Beverages That Meet Nutrition Standards-

(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in this subsection as the `Secretary’), after consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall establish the Nutrition Standards in Schools Task Force (referred to in this subsection as the `Task Force’) to assist in establishing a user friendly identification system for identifying foods and beverages that meet the established nutrition standards or updated nutrition standards, as appropriate.

(2) MEMBERSHIP-

(A) COMPOSITION- The Task Force shall be composed of–

(i) a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services;

(ii) a representative of the Department of Agriculture;

(iii) a representative of the Department of Education;

(iv) a representative of the food and beverage industry, appointed by the Secretary;

(v) a representative of public school administrators and food service operators, appointed by the Secretary;

(vi) a representative of parent organizations, appointed by the Secretary;

(vii) a representative of public health and nutrition advocacy organizations, appointed by the Secretary; and

(viii) other members as determined appropriate by the Secretary.

(B) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT; VACANCIES- Members shall be appointed for the life of the Task Force. Any vacancy in the Task Force shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(C) CHAIRPERSON- The Secretary or the Secretary’s designee shall serve as the chairperson of the Task Force.

(3) DUTIES- The Task Force shall–

(A) make recommendations to the Secretary concerning guidelines for the user friendly identification system described in paragraph (1);

(B) after the Secretary issues guidelines for such a system, coordinate and facilitate the development of the system;

(C) report the guidelines for such a system to representatives from–

(i) education and child development groups;

(ii) parents and parent organizations;

(iii) school boards and local education agencies;

(iv) State agencies;

(v) Federal agencies;

(vi) public health organizations;

(vii) nutrition advocacy organizations; and

(viii) food and beverage producers and vendors;

(D) recommend to the Secretary an evaluation plan for monitoring the implementation of the system.

(4) PERSONNEL-

(A) TRAVEL EXPENSES- The members of the Task Force shall not receive compensation for the performance of services for the Task Force, but shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Task Force. Notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, United States Code, the Secretary may accept the voluntary and uncompensated services of members of the Task Force.

(B) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES- Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Task Force without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.

(5) PERMANENT COMMITTEE- Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Task Force.

(d) Training School Food Service Personnel To Implement Nutrition Standards-

(1) GRANTS- The Secretary of Agriculture (referred to in this subsection as the `Secretary’) shall make grants to eligible entities to train food service and other appropriate school personnel to provide the personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the established nutrition standards or updated nutrition standards, as appropriate.

(2) ELIGIBILITY- To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an entity shall–

(A) be a State educational agency, high-need local educational agency, or Indian tribe; and

(B) submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(3) PRIORITY- In making grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall give priority to eligible entities that serve underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minority populations and low-income populations.

(4) USE OF FUNDS- An entity that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the amounts received through the grant to train personnel described in paragraph (1) to implement the nutrition standards described in paragraph (1) in schools.

(5) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE- The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall provide each entity that receives a grant under this subsection with technical support–

(A) to facilitate the implementation of the nutrition standards described in paragraph (1); and

(B) to the maximum extent practicable, to ensure healthy eating behaviors among children.

(6) EVALUATION- Not later than 2 years after the date on which a grant is awarded to an eligible entity under this subsection, the entity shall submit to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a report that describes and contains an evaluation of the activities carried out with funds received through the grant.

(7) DEFINITIONS- In this subsection:

(A) INDIAN TRIBE- The term `Indian tribe’ has the meaning given the term in section 2 of the Tribally Controlled College or University Assistance Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. 1801).

(B) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY; STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY- The terms `local educational agency’ and `State educational agency’ have the meanings given the terms in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).

(8) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this subsection.

SEC. 4. ESTABLISHING AND IMPLEMENTING PHYSICAL EDUCATION STANDARDS IN SCHOOLS.

(a) Definitions- In this section, the terms `Indian tribe’, `local educational agency’, and `State educational agency’ have the meanings given the terms in section 3(d)(7).

(b) Physical Education Standards in Schools- The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (referred to in this section as the `Secretary’), in collaboration with the Secretary of Education, shall ensure that local educational agencies that receive Federal funds establish and implement policies to ensure that students participate in physical education programs that meet standards for physical activity issued by the Secretary, based on standards recommended by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

(c) Grants for Training-

(1) GRANTS- The Secretary shall award grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities to support activities that provide teacher training, and provide the support needed, to implement physical education programs that meet the standards described in subsection (b).

(2) ELIGIBILITY- To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an entity shall be a State educational agency, high-need local educational agency, or Indian tribe.

(3) APPLICATIONS- To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an entity shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such agreements, assurances, and other information as the Secretary may require.

(4) PRIORITY- In awarding grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall give priority to eligible entities submitting applications proposing to provide training and support for programs for students from populations at high risk for sedentary activity, including racial and ethnic minority populations and low-income populations.

(5) USE OF FUNDS- An entity that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the amounts received through the grant to provide the training and support described in paragraph (1).

(6) EVALUATION- Not later than 3 years after the date on which a grant is awarded to an eligible entity under this subsection, the entity shall submit to the Secretary a report that describes the activities carried out with funds received through the grant and the effectiveness of such activities in ensuring students meet the standards described in subsection (b).

(d) Carol M. White Physical Education Program-

(1) REQUIRED STANDARDS- Section 5503 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7216b) is amended–

(A) in subsection (a), by striking `grants’ and inserting `grants and contracts’; and

(B) in subsection (b)–

(i) by redesignating paragraphs (1) through (6) as subparagraphs (A) through (F); and

(ii) by striking `subpart may provide’ and inserting `subpart–

(1) shall, not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Back to School: Improving Standards for Nutrition and Physical Education in Schools Act of 2007, meet standards for physical activity, as issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, based on standards recommended by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education; and

(2) may provide’.

(2) EVALUATION- Section 5505 of such Act (20 U.S.C. 7261d) is amended–

(A) in subsection (b), by striking `grant’ and inserting `grant or contract’; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

(c) Evaluation- Not later than 2 years after the date on which a grant or contract is awarded to an eligible entity under this subpart, the entity shall submit to the Secretary a report that describes the activities carried out with the funds received through the grant or contract and the effectiveness of such activities in meeting the standards described in section 5503(b)(1).’.

(3) PRIORITY- Section 5506(b) of such Act (20 U.S.C. 7261e(b)) is amended–

(A) in the subsection header, by striking `Proportionality- ‘ and inserting `Awards- ‘ ;

(B) by inserting before `To the extent’ the following:

(1) PROPORTIONALITY- ‘;

(C) by striking `grants’ and inserting `grants and contracts’; and

(D) by adding at the end the following:

(2) PRIORITY- In awarding grants and contracts under this subpart, the Secretary shall give priority to eligible entities submitting applications proposing to carry out programs for students from populations at high risk for sedentary activity, including racial and ethnic minority populations and low-income populations.’.

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