Month: June 2018

Senate Passes Bipartisan Farm Bill

1,000 Days commends the Senate for passing the Farm Bill – a balanced and bipartisan piece of legislation that helps secure the food and nutrition needs of millions of Americans, including families with young children. In particular, the Senate Farm Bill affirms the important role that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) plays in addressing hunger and poverty.

However, the work is not yet done. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a partisan Farm Bill that undermines SNAP and will increase food insecurity among low-income families. If enacted, the House bill will mean more children in America will go hungry.

As the members of the Senate conference committee sit down with their House counterparts to negotiate a final Farm Bill, they must honor the thoughtful and bipartisan Senate process. 1,000 Days will continue to work with our partners to stand strong in opposition to the House SNAP provisions and call on policymakers to craft a final Farm Bill that meets the needs of women and young children.

Comprehensive Health Insurance Continues to be Undermined

On Tuesday the Trump Administration released a final rule that expands Association Health Plans—a health insurance product available to small businesses and other groups that is not required to provide comprehensive coverage. Association Health Plans can also charge people more for a wide variety of factors (including being a woman), and skirts critical consumer protections.

While Association Health Plans cannot charge people more for having pre-existing health conditions, plans will be allowed to base insurance rates on non-health factors like gender, age or industry. The plans are also exempt from having to cover the essential health benefits package required under the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees coverage of services like maternity and newborn care or mental health services.

At 1,000 Days we have deep concerns that this regulatory action will undermine health insurance markets and result in higher costs for those who need comprehensive health insurance most – including moms and babies. Women and young children—and all consumers—need comprehensive health insurance. Unfortunately the actions of the Trump Administration are undercutting the very protections that moms and babies need for their health and well-being.

Millions Watch 1,000 Days’ Newest Videos For Parents

Good nutrition during a child’s earliest years sets the foundation for lifelong health. It provides the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth and a strong immune system. However, too many children in the U.S. are not eating a healthy diet. Fewer than half of all children between ages one and two eat a vegetable on a given day, and 15% of children between ages one and two are not getting enough iron, an essential nutrient for proper brain development.

In order to get credible information into the hands of parents and caregivers, 1,000 Days has partnered with experts to bring together the evidence-based information and practical strategies on what, when, and how to feed infants and toddlers.

“The benefits of proper nutrition in a child’s earliest years have far-reaching consequences, but as a mom, I know firsthand how hard it can be to make sense of the conflicting advice coming from our doctors, family members and the internet. That’s why I’m so thrilled share this resource with parents and empower them to more confidently feed their young children,” said Lucy M. Sullivan, executive director of 1,000 Days.

Building upon CDC’s new evidence-based website on infant and toddler feeding – as well as other resources such as the Healthy Eating Research report “Feeding Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers” – 1,000 Days has developed a series of bite-sized “how to” videos to bring the recommendations to life for parents and caregivers.

An organization by moms, for moms, 1,000 Days understands parents need quick, practical and trustworthy advice. 1,000 Days is kicking off with 12 videos on one of the biggest questions parents have: how to introduce solid foods. The videos cover a range of topics – from the signs to look for to know your baby is ready to start eating food, to tips on how to cook nutritious first foods for your baby. 1,000 Days has developed these videos to reach a wide audience and help parents and caregivers feel confident about feeding their young children.

In just one month, the videos have already reached more than 3.5 million of people and been viewed more than 1.2 million times. In addition to being watched and shared by millions of parents across the U.S., the videos have also attracted the attention of media like Fatherly, influencers like The Mama Notes and many partners in the early childhood development space, including state and local WIC agencies that are now using the videos as resources for parents and staff alike. Parents are hungry for trusted and practical information, and 1,000 Days sees real potential to expand upon this initial work as outlined in this case study.

This first video series is just the start. 1,000 Days intends to build a library of resources to support parents with information on eating and feeding throughout the 1,000-day journey from a woman’s pregnancy through her child’s 2nd birthday.

Congress is Back in Session: Here’s What We’re Watching

As policymakers head back to Washington, DC this week for a 4-week stretch of work before the next Congressional recess, there are a number of items in front of them that would have an impact on the health and well-being of moms and babies. Below are some of the most pressing items we are watching here at 1,000 Days:

Changes to SNAP in the Farm Bill 

The Farm Bill is a major piece of legislation impacting numerous policies and programs – from trade to supports for farmers to federal nutrition programs. The House of Representatives recently put forth a Farm Bill proposal that included significant changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – changes that would increase food insecurity among low-income families. While the first attempt to pass the bill in the House failed, House leadership has made it clear that they will bring the Farm Bill to a vote again before the July 4th recess.

The Senate – on the other hand – has put forth a balanced and bipartisan Farm Bill proposal. In particular, the Senate Farm Bill supports the role of SNAP in addressing hunger and poverty in America. The proposal – which the Committee will mark up on June 13th – is an important first step toward renewing this critical program.

1,000 Days will continue to work with policymakers to support a Farm Bill that prioritizes the programs that young children and their families need to thrive.

Funding for WIC

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is funded by Congress every year through the annual appropriations process. While 1,000 Days has strongly supported full funding for WIC and for the breastfeeding peer counselor program, both the House and the Senate appropriations bills include funding for WIC in FY19 that is significantly LESS than in FY18. What’s more, funding for breastfeeding peer counselors remained stagnant at $60 million. We will continue to work partners and allies to ensure WIC has the funding it needs to serve all women and children who need the program.

Upcoming Dietary Guidelines

In 2013, Congress mandated that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) include pregnant women and young children as a part of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). The updated DGAs will inform federal nutrition programs that reach young children and their families, as well as serve as an important reference point for physicians, nutrition counselors, early childcare providers, among others. Both the House and Senate funding packages for FY19 include $12.3 million in funding to USDA to support the development of the DGAs. This is a positive signal of the importance of a strong, evidence-based process to develop and then disseminate the DGAs. 1,000 Days will continue to track this process closely.

Pending Maternal Mortality Legislation

Champions in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would take steps toward addressing the high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S. and, in particular, to focus on the racial and ethnic disparities in the rates of maternal mortality.  We strongly support these legislative efforts and are urging Congress to hold hearings and advance this legislation as soon as possible.

Proposed Cuts to the Children’s Health Insurance Program

President Trump has proposed to rescind $7 billion of funding from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This directly contradicts the fact that just a few months ago, a bipartisan bill extending the funding for CHIP was passed by Congress and was signed into law by the President. While Congressional leadership is currently considering these cuts, 1,000 Days joined hundreds of organizations to strongly oppose them. We will continue to highlight the importance of health care and coverage for moms and babies to ensure a healthy first 1,000 days.

Threats to Immigrant Families

The Department of Homeland Security is considering a new rule that would suppress immigrants’ access to benefits to which they are entitled, including Medicaid and WIC. The proposal—known as public charge—is pending review and could be released for comment soon. 1,000 Days is working in partnership with groups across the country to prepare for this forthcoming rule and the open-comment period that will follow.

Over the next four weeks, we will be working with our partners and allies, Congressional champions and YOU to make sure federal policies prioritize the nutritional health of young children and their families.