Our research group reviewed, updated and field-tested “Nutrition Competencies for California’s Children, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12,” a document that provides comprehensive and sequential nutrition goals for students. The review process included: (1) comparative analysis with state and national nutrition and health documents; (2) professional input by UC nutrition and education faculty and California Department of Education nutrition staff; (3) review by national, state and local experts in nutrition, education and food service; and (4) field review by and a survey of California public school teachers. The teachers that we surveyed overwhelmingly agreed that the final Nutrition Competencies document was age- and academically appropriate for students in their grade levels. More than 81% found the Nutrition Competencies document well-structured and user-friendly. The teachers supported its inclusion in the school curriculum, and requested additional support materials such as lesson plans in order to incorporate nutrition lessons into the core subject areas.
Elevated blood-lead levels put children at risk for neurobehavioral-cognitive deficits, such as IQ deficiency, behavioral disorders and impaired hearing. We examined several factors that contribute to elevated lead levels in U.S. children to help define the extent to which lead toxicity from these sources continues to be a problem. The results of our review suggest that elevated levels of lead in paint, dust, soil, imported pottery and ceramic ware, ethnic remedies, and some imported candies continue to be areas of concern, while typical levels in food products appear to be acceptable. It is important to continue monitoring lead levels in children as well as in environmental and food sources.