April 4, 2018
Honorable Patrick O’Donnell
Chair, Assembly Education Committee
1020 N Street, Room 159
Sacramento, California 95814
RE: AB 2360 (Rodriguez): Pupil nutrition: school district and food bank partnerships.
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair O’Donnell:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, strongly supports proposed legislation AB 2360 (Rodriguez), which would encourage the creation of partnerships between school districts and food banks in order to increase California students’ access to fresh produce.
Most children do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. A comprehensive study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 2007 and 2010, 60% of children did not meet their minimum recommended intake of fruit, and 93% did not consume enough vegetables. This has grave implications for children’s health. In the short term, children who do not eat a healthy diet with plenty of immune-boosting fruits and vegetables are likely to get sick more often and miss more school; in the long term, they could be at risk of chronic or serious illness, especially if they are replacing fruits and vegetables with highly processed foods or unhealthy amounts of food groups that are recommended in moderation. Unfortunately, many California children simply do not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables at home, often because their families may be unable to afford these foods or may live in a “food desert” where only processed, prepackaged food is sold.
AB 2360 (Rodriguez) would help California children access the fruits and vegetables they need by requiring the Department of Food and Agriculture to collaborate with other entities in order to establish a set of guidelines that school districts and food banks could use to enter into partnerships, which would have the goal of providing greater access to fresh produce for California public school students and their families. This would have a beneficial effect on the health and wellbeing of children and families across the state.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 across the state respectfully urge an AYE vote on AB 2360 (Rodriguez). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, author
Members of the Assembly Education Committee
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne