Washington, DC, March 28, 2013 – The USDA today announced the implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program nutrition education (SNAP-Ed) provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The changes will add a renewed focus on the critical problem of obesity by expanding the scope of existing nutrition education efforts. These changes are designed to increase the likelihood that low-income people will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles.
“Nothing could be more critical to the future of our nation than making sure families have the information they need to make informed decisions about their health,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon.
The new rule provides States with the flexibility to support targeted nutrition education and obesity prevention activities based on the Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans according to the needs of SNAP recipients and other low-income individuals in their state. Examples of activities allowed under this rule include:
- Establishing community gardens in low-income areas such as public housing sites, eligible schools, and qualifying community sites;
- Bringing farmers’ markets to low-income areas;
- Developing policies for increasing access to healthy food in low-income areas; and
- Educating SNAP retailers on how to stock healthier food options.
Nutrition education and obesity prevention services can be delivered through multiple venues and involve activities at the individual, community, and appropriate policy levels. USDA encourages state agencies to collaborate with other publicly or privately funded national, state, and local nutrition education and health promotion initiatives and interventions.
Being released next week as an interim final rule, the new rule provides immediate guidance to States but streamlines the rulemaking process by allowing for later adjustments, based on public comment. The public is encouraged to review the interim final rule and to provide comments and information for consideration by USDA. The text of the rule is available at SNAP-Ed_Interim_Rule.pdf. Once the rule is published in the Federal Register, which is expected next week, the public will be able to provide feedback through www.regulations.gov. USDA will seek public comment on the rule for 60 days.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including SNAP, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work together to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.