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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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USDA-FDA-OBESITY

Memorandum of Understanding

Between
The Department of Education

and

The Department of Health and Human Services
and
The Department of Agriculture

 

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU is made and entered into between the Department of Education (ED), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Department of Agriculture (USDA). This agreement and the attached Activities Agenda, which is incorporated herein, establish a general framework for implementing an enhanced and more effectively coordinated effort to strengthen and promote the education and health of the nation's school-aged children and youth.

 

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this MOU is to establish a general framework for cooperation between ED, DHHS and USDA. The cooperating Departments propose to work together to encourage all youth to adopt healthy eating and physical activity behaviors in order to curb the increasing rate of obesity and overweight, particularly in children and youth, as well as promote better health status to improve educational attainment. To advance this vision, ED, DHHS and USDA will utilize and strengthen existing programs, enhance coordination of existing Federally-supported programs, promote scientifically based research on effective school policies related to nutrition and physical activity, determine the need for new programs, advance the capacity for comprehensive nutrition and physical activity programming at the State level and identify ways to expand the channels for the delivery of interventions. The activities outlined in this agreement support the goals of these Departments.

 

II.BACKGROUND

Rates of overweight and obesity are increasing to epidemic levels. Approximately 13% of the nation's youth aged 6-19 years of overweight. Obesity mow causes more health problems than smoking, heavy drinking or poverty, according to a recent study by the Rand Corporation. Obesity and overweight are critical public health issues, with significant consequences for our nation's future. Promoting healthy eating and related behaviors is an essential component of USDA's nutrition assistance programs and represents an important part of the nation's investment in improving the nutrition and health status of children and youth. ED is the leader in promoting academic excellence. Enhancing educational opportunities for all American's children and families, improving the quality of teaching and learning. ED has an important interest in ensuring the children are healthy and ready to learn—two key building blocks for a child's educational achievement. As the leader in heath policy and promote changes to increase physical activity and improve nutrition and health among our nation's young people. Together, these Departments will work together to strengthen and expand school-based efforts to help children and youth develop healthy eating and physical activity skills that will last a lifetime.

 

III. EXPIRATION

This coordination and collaboration of the Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Initiative activities will commence upon signature and continue for five years. This agreement may be modified or extended by mutual written agreement and may be terminated at any time by any party upon written notice to the other parties.

 

Activities Agenda for Department of Education, Department of Health and Human
Services, and U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Agriculture will participate in the Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Initiative to plan and support the delivery of messages to children, youth and their parents and caregivers and to target populations specifically served thought their programs to effect behavior changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

 

The Department of Education agrees to:

a. Promote nutrition, physical activity and health in schools.

b. Provide guidance on how nutrition, physical activity, and health may be incorporated as appropriate, in applicable ED programs. For example, one of the permissible local uses of funds of a grant recipient under the 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs is recreational activity.

c. Focus back-to-back school activities in part on nutrition education and physical activity.

d. Build awareness among education leaders and the community in general of the impact nutrition and physical activity can have on student achievement and behavior. Integrate links to USDA and DHHS technical assistance materials related to physical activity and nutrition on its web sites.

e. Continue to support and promote USDA's Changing the Scene and other policies and practices that support achieving healthy school nutrition environments.

f. Encourage state Boards of Education to consider developing policies for a healthy school environment where healthy eating and physical activity choices are available so children can learn and participate in positive dietary and physical activity behaviors.

g. Encourage state and local education leaders to support USDA's school meals programs through a variety of means including the promotion of healthy food choices in schools.

h. Encourage schools to implement comprehensive Team Nutrition.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services agress to:

a. Monitor youth physical activity and nutrition behaviors, as well as school polices and programs to address those behaviors.

b. Integrate physical activity and nutrition components into its activities in support of coordinated school health problems.

c. Provide technical assistance and training activities related to promoting physical activity and healthy eating through school programs for the States funded by DHHS to implement coordinated school health programs and the States funded by DHHS for comprehensive physical activity and nutrition programs.

d. Help State education agencies and State health departments provide technical assistance to school districts and schools on implementing the recommendations of DHHS guidelines for schools on promoting physical activity and healthy eating.

e. Help States implement and Disseminate the School Health Index for physical Activity and Healthy Eating: A Self- Assessments and Planning Tool and Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn: A School Health Policy Guide across the nation.

f. Develop materials to help schools implement the healthy school nutrition environment recommendations containing USDA's Changing the Scene and DHHS's School Health Index.

g. Provide technical assistance to help state education agencies help schools select or develop effective physical education and nutrition education curricula.

h. Provide technical assistance in helping schools to identify, from the Guide to Community Preventive Services and other resources appropriate strategies to promote physical activity and healthy eating among school administration, faculty, and staff.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture agrees to:

a. Promote nutrition, physical activity and health to schools through the Team Nutrition Initiative and Eat Smart, Play Hard Campaign.

b. Continue to enroll schools as Team Nutrition Schools and promote comprehensive implementation of Team Nutrition.

c. Develop and distribute grade specific materials to schools to use in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in the school, community and through the media about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

d. Promote the Changing the Scene kit, the School Health Index, and Fit, Healthy and Ready to Learn and encourage schools to provide a healthy school nutrition environment for their students.

e. Subject to availability of appropriations, continue to fund Team Nutrition State Agency Training Grants for innovative nutrition education activities at the school level.

f. Support "Ag in the Classroom" in schools nationally.

g. Support the establishment of schools gardens through "how to" materials.

h. Collaborate on the development of mutually identified school health materials including technical assistance materials on implementing the healthy school nutrition environment.

i. Promote healthy eating and physical activity to the education community through presentations and exhibits at national conferences of education related organizations.

j. Work with ED and DHHS to promote nutrition and physical activity messages to education communities.

Approved and Accepted
for the United States Department of Education

Signed by: Rod Paige, Secretary
United States Department of Education

Date: June 20, 2002

Approved and Accepted
for the United States Department of Agriculture

Signed by: Ann M. Veneman, Secretary
United States Department of Agriculture

Date: June 20, 2005

Approved and Accepted
for the United States Department of Health and Human Services

Signed by: Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary
United States Department of Health and Human Services

Date: June 21,2002