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The Division of Nutrition & Physical Activity (DNPA) works to improve access to healthy foods and beverages following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health cooperative agreement. Environmental approaches strive to make healthy behaviors easier and more convenient for Hoosiers. Program efforts target communities, worksites, early care and education (ECE) and schools.
Proper nutrition is critical to good health. These resources focus on strategies to help increase Hoosiers’ access to healthy foods and beverages:
Increasing the number of farmers markets in Indiana: As of January 2016, there are 155 confirmed farmers markets operating in Indiana. Each market is unique to its own community. Indiana is lucky to have a diversity of farmers markets. Markets are municipally managed, or led by nonprofits, volunteers or private businesses. Some have live music, offer yoga, sell wine or even operate tiny libraries. Indiana's farmers markets range in size from two vendors to 125 vendors!
Farmers Markets Accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program): More than 50 Indiana farmers markets are authorized to accept SNAP & EBT transactions via Hoosier Works cards. An additional 25 farm stands throughout the state also are authorized to accept SNAP/EBT. At The 2016 Indiana Farmers Market Forum and Indiana's first SNAP Sign-Up Day, an additional 16 farmers markets and farm stands became SNAP-authorized, expanding local and fresh food access at key locations around Indiana! To find more information about SNAP at farmers markets in Indiana, click here: http://www.hoosierfarmersmarkets.org.
ISDH is partnering with the Wellness Council of Indiana to bring more nutrition opportunities to employers throughout the state, both large and small.
ISDH is also partnering with the Indiana State Personnel Department’s Invest in Your Health, which utilizes department-level wellness champions to disseminate health insurance information, health promotion messages and other learning opportunities.
Promote the adoption of food service guidelines/nutrition standards which include sodium: The Food Service Guidelines (FSG) or nutrition standards are guidelines for organizations or programs to create healthy eating and drinking environments in government-managed cafeterias, snack bars and vending machines. The guidelines can be applied to non-government settings as well, including universities, hospitals or worksite cafeteria or vending settings. Use of pricing incentives, promotional materials or food placement strategies is important for guideline implementation.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it more affordable for many low-income families. Each day, 3.2 million children receive nutritious meals and snacks through CACFP. CACFP reaches even further to provide meals to children residing in emergency shelters, and snacks and suppers to youths participating in eligible after-school care programs.
Farm to Preschool: Indiana Farm to Preschool was formed in early 2015 to support Farm to Preschool activities across the state. By offering resources and best practices, we hope to encourage child care providers to engage in Farm to Preschool activities such as gardening, nutrition education and more. These activities support our goal of increasing the health of children by providing them the building blocks to form a healthy lifestyle.
ISDH is partnering with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), 16 school districts and Rogers K-12 Consulting to create healthier school nutrition environments. Since school cafeterias already have to follow strict USDA guidelines and nutrition standards with the food that they serve to students, the DNPA’s efforts focus more on increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables and/or from-scratch foods that are prepared and eaten by students.
At the core of the DNPA’s efforts are providing school food service directors and employees with the training and knowledge they need to incorporate more fresh and local foods. Chef Cyndie and the IDOE’s Culinary Skills for A+ School Meals are two workshops that have been provided where schools have learned knife skills, how to incorporate new fruits and vegetables into school menus, and how to name and present food in a way that encourages student consumption. Along with the training, ISDH works with Katie Rogers from Rogers K-12 consulting to work on a one-on-one basis with schools and their cafeterias to see what small and easy changes can be made in their kitchens.
IDOE’s Division of School and Community Nutrition is the administering state agency in Indiana for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Child Nutrition Programs. These programs include: the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Programs.
Farm to School's goal is to enable every child to have access to nutritious food while simultaneously benefiting communities and local farmers. Indiana's Farm to School program draws support from a variety of organizations and interest groups because of the benefits it offers in education, health and nutrition, supporting local producers, strengthening community self-sufficiency, and in encouraging environmental sustainability.