Extension News

Coalition Recommends Task Force on Child Health


Ames, IOWA – A coalition of more than 60 private and public organizations is encouraging state legislators to establish a task force to examine public policy and state laws that affect the health and well-being of Iowa children.

“Children’s health issues are a national and state priority, and our partners are interested in learning about the legislative agenda at the state and national level in this area,” said Gary Boeyink, co-chair of Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids (IP:AFHK).  

The group hosted a recent discussion with federal and state legislators at the Polk County Extension Office. Representatives from Senators Harkin and Grassley, as well as Representative Latham's office attended. In addition, State Senators Bolkcum and Mulder, and Representatives Heddens and Upmeyer participated in a panel discussion.

Among the items discussed was the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 2004. It requires all local school districts to establish a local wellness policy. 

"The federal mandate requires schools to have a policy, but does not set any minimum requirements," said Ruth Litchfield, Iowa State University Extension nutritionist and IP:AFHK co-chair. "Establishing this task force will help define some minimum standards for the local school wellness policies."

More than 2,000 school staff, students, and community partners representing more than half of Iowa's school districts attended Iowa Communications Network (ICN) training on school wellness policies sponsored by IP:AFHK in partnership with Iowa Public Television, Iowa Department of Education/Team Nutrition, Midwest Dairy Association and Iowa State University. IP:AFHK also partnered with the Iowa Association of School Boards to draft a model wellness policy.

Additional information about the coalition and their goals is available at these Web sites:






Contacts :

Ruth Litchfield, Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids co-chair, Food Science and Human Nutrition (515) 294-9484  litch@iastate.edu

Gary Boeyink, Iowa Partners: Action for Healthy Kids co-chair (641) 628-5140 boeyinkg@central.edu

Molly Pelzer, Action for Healthy Kids liaison (800) 406-6455 mpelzer@midwestdairy.com


Diane Nelson, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-3178, dinelson@iastate.edu