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The issue of child nutrition has been getting a lot of attention these days, and for good reason. Today, we have the growing crises of childhood obesity AND the persistence of child hunger. So what’s a community to do?

One way to address both crises is to increase access to affordable, nutritious foods. At the federal level, Senators are working to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that, in part, will strengthen the child nutrition programs that provide free and reduced school lunch. And in direct response to a recent report “Too Fat to Fight” which highlights how hunger and obesity impact military recruitment, certain members of the House of Representatives have proposed an Amendment to combat childhood hunger and obesity within the currently moving Defense Authorization Bill. We at Voices are pleased to note that one of the sponsors of this Amendment is Congressman Sanford Bishop from Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District.

Also specific to Georgia, the Food Trust, a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, has selected Georgia as one of the states in which to expand their work on Fresh Food Financing Initiatives.   The goal of this initiative is to increase access to grocery stores, particularly for families residing in those neighborhoods recently coined as “food deserts.”

True, these efforts alone will not guarantee that a child choose a carrot stick over a candy bar, but it does give the carrot stick more of a fighting chance.  (Go, carrot, go!)

Joann Yoon, Assoc. Policy Director for Child Health

Voices for Georgia’s Children

Last week’s US Supreme Court ruling making unconstitutional the sentence of life without the chance of parole for youth in non-homicide cases gives those of us working on juvenile justice reform here in Georgia hope.  The Supreme Court has once again found that children are different from adults and thus should be treated differently when they get into trouble with the law. Research shows that community-based interventions are more effective than detention for most youth who get into trouble.  See today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution for an opinion piece that my colleague Beth Locker and I authored applauding the Supreme Court’s ruling and remaining hopeful that Georgia’s juvenile code reform effort will come to be and ultimately provide better outcomes for our children and families.

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