Congressional Briefing: The State of Nutrition on the School Lunch Tray

The Physicians Committee
NEWS RELEASE April 22, 2014
Congressional Briefing: The State of Nutrition on the School Lunch Tray

On April 23, the Physicians Committee will be hosting a briefing on the state of nutrition in the school lunch program. Academic experts and public health professionals will discuss how the changes in the school lunch program have impacted the nutritional content of what is on the tray and the importance of the school lunch and breakfast programs for addressing both food insecurity and a growing obesity epidemic among low-income children.

The State of Nutrition on the School Lunch Tray

Wednesday, April 23
12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Rayburn House Office Building B-338

Hosted by
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Honorary Host
U.S. Representative Jared Polis

School meals play a central role in ensuring our country’s children receive the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.  Over 31 million children receive meals each day through the National School Lunch Program, and over 12 million participate in the National School Breakfast Program.  Given such numbers, school meals provide children critical access to healthful foods.

Since the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, there have been a handful of studies evaluating the success of the law and many conflicting reports regarding school lunch compliance. Come hear from experts on preliminary findings on school lunch compliance, changes in the nutritional quality on the school tray, and the status of health among children today.


  • Wayne H. Giles, M.D., M.S., director, Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Presentation
  • Ronette Briefel, Dr.P.H, senior fellow, Mathematica - Presentation
  • Scott Richardson, M.B.A., director, Research and Strategic Initiatives, Project Bread - Presentation
  • Goutham Rao, M.D., chair, American Heart Association’s Obesity Committee - Presentation

Moderated by Neal Barnard, M.D., president, Physicians Committee

About the Speakers

Wayne Giles, M.D., M.S.

Wayne H. Giles, M.D., M.S., joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July 1992. He is currently the director of the Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He holds a B.A. in biology from Washington University, an M.S. in epidemiology from the University of Maryland, and an M.D. from Washington University and has completed residencies in both Internal Medicine (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and Preventive Medicine (University of Maryland). His past work includes studies examining the prevalence of hypertension in Africa, clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering agents, and studies examining racial differences in the incidence of stroke.

Dr. Giles currently directs programmatic and research activities in community health promotion, arthritis, aging, health care utilization, and racial and ethnic disparities in health. He has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has authored several book chapters. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Charles C. Shepard Award in Assessment and Epidemiology and the Jeffrey P. Koplan Award.

Ronette Briefel, Dr.P.H, R.D.

ronette-briefelRonette Briefel is a senior fellow in Mathematica’s Washington, DC, office. Briefel is currently principal investigator for a random assignment study to improve food security among low-income children in the summer and a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) breastfeeding policy inventory for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service; and an evaluation of model communities linking public health and primary care for the Health Resources and Services Administration.

She has led national studies on the food consumption patterns and nutrient intakes of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; evaluations of school food programs, school meals, and children’s diet and obesity; and evidence-based reviews of dietary guidance for children. Briefel has served on four Institute of Medicine committees. She has a Dr.P.H. in chronic disease epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh and is a registered dietitian.

Scott Richardson, M.B.A.

scott-richardsonScott Richardson is a social innovation expert who brings over 15 years of nonprofit and for-profit experience to his work solving social problems through creative, financially sound, and sustainable business practices.

He currently serves as Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives for Project Bread-The Walk for Hunger, where he is responsible for identifying, implementing, and measuring the impact and sustainability of new projects to improve access to healthy food for underserved populations across Massachusetts. Scott holds an M.B.A. from Babson College and a B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University.

Goutham Rao, M.D.

goutham-raoGoutham Rao, M.D., F.A.H.A., is vice chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Chicago and clinical associate professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is also director of the Center for Biomedical Research Informatics in the NorthShore University HealthSystem.

Dr. Rao is chair of the American Heart Association’s Obesity Committee. He has served on the American Medical Association’s Expert Committee on Child and Adolescent Obesity, and on the National Quality Forum’s Child Health Steering Committee. Dr. Rao’s research focuses on improving management and cardiovascular risks in primary care settings. He is the author of more than 50 scientific publications, including three books.

Neal Barnard, M.D.

neal-barnardNeal Barnard, M.D., is the founder of the nonprofit Physicians Committee, an adjunct professor of medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and author of 15 books and three PBS specials on diet and health.

Dr. Barnard’s most recent study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, finds vegetarian diets lower blood pressure and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

For more information, please contact Jamie Berger at

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

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