Amy A. Eyler, PhD is an associate professor and assistant dean of public health in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. She has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education and Adult Fitness from Ohio University and a Doctorate in Public Health from Oregon State University. Dr. Eyler’s main research interests are health promotion through community policy and environmental interventions, with a focus on physical activity and obesity prevention. She recently served as principal investigator for the Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN), a national network of researchers to study the influence of policy on population physical activity. She was Chair of the physical activity section of the American Public Health Association, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Dr. Eyler has authored over 75 peer-reviewed publications and has been principal investigator for projects funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and National Chronic Disease Directors. She teaches both Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work students at the Brown School and her courses include Research Methods, Health Policy, and Cross-Cutting Themes in Public Health. She is also co-chair of the MPH Urban Design Specialization.
Budget cuts have forced many school districts to prioritize school programs, and extracurricular activities such as sports are often viewed as less essential than academics. Yet rather than reducing or eliminating sports programs altogether, some districts are electing to transfer some of the costs of sports participation to student athletes and their families. This opens the door to wide variation of fees and processes, and may contribute to inequities in sports participation for low-income students already at higher-risk for poorer health outcomes.
Due to budget shortfalls, many states and school districts are implementing pay-to-play policies that allow collection of fees for participation in extracurricular activities such as school sports. The number of school districts with these policies has grown over the last decade, with some states reporting a two-fold increase. Although the extent of these policies and the amount of the fees for participation vary greatly, it seems likely that the overall effects of pay-to-pay policies may disproportionally affect low-income students.
Children and FamiliesAssessing Implementation of the New USDA CACFP Meal Pattern Standards
In April 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued updated standards governing the meal pattern requirements for the Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP), effective October 1, 2017. The updated standards will require participating providers to serve more whole grains, a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, and reduce the amount of solid fats and added sugars (SOFAS) in meals.