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Walmart Foundation kicks off summertime healthy eating program for children

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The Walmart Foundation on Monday announced the start of a summer-long initiative to help children and families gain access to nutritious meals and learn healthy-eating habits. The family-focused initiative includes $15 million in grants that will provide meals and nutrition education to 1.4 million children and families in more than 1,500 communities. The six nonprofit organizations set to receive grant funding from the Walmart Foundation, include Children’s Health Fund, Food Research and Action Center, League of United Latin American Citizens, National 4-H Council, National Recreation and Park Association and YMCA of the USA. Additionally, as part of the initiative, Walmart today kicked off a five-week Eat Healthy Together Challenge that is designed to encourage families to prepare and eat healthy meals together throughout the summer.
 
In addition to the grants from the Walmart Foundation to support nutrition education and healthy summer meals, Walmart is collaborating with Chef Lorena Garcia, renowned chef and author with TV appearances on BRAVO’s “Top Chef Masters” and NBC’s “Biggest Loser,” to launch the Eat Healthy Together Challenge. The challenge encourages families to eat healthy meals together at least three times a week. 
 
“Parents and caregivers are the single most influential role model when it comes to nutrition; in turn, it falls on their shoulders to help children learn healthy eating habits,” Garcia said. “Walmart’s Eat Healthy Together Challenge is a fun, interactive way to help encourage more families to eat healthy together by providing them with the resources they need to succeed. Fostering a routine now will help ensure the habit continues during the school year and beyond.” 
 
According to a new FRAC report issued earlier this month, the number of children participating in the United States Department of Agriculture's Summer Nutrition Programs increased last year, yet the need for greater access to meals during the summer months while school is out of session remains significant. Last year, only 1-in-7 children who needed summer meals received them, leaving children vulnerable to negative impacts on their health and development during the summer months when regular school meals are not provided. Eating healthy food reduces a child’s risk of disease, helps maintain proper growth and development and improves their memory and mood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
“We know that summer can be a challenging time for millions of children who rely on the nutrition from free or reduced cost school meals,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. “Through our relationships with dedicated nonprofit organizations, this summer, we will further our commitment to help people gain access to healthy foods and develop nutritious eating habits. We are proud to support this work which will reach [more than] a million children and families in more than 1,500 communities.”

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Under emergency order, Rite Aid pharmacists can administer MMR vaccines to adults in Ohio

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — In response to the increasing number of measles and mumps cases, and under Ohio Governor John Kasich's emergency order, Rite Aid pharmacists across Ohio are now able to administer the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to adults ages 18 years and older. The Ohio Department of Public Health reported more than 300 cases of measles and more than 400 cases of mumps in the state representing significantly more cases than anywhere else in the country.
 
Under the emergency order, Rite Aid certified immunizing pharmacists in Ohio can vaccinate patients ages 18 years and older against measles, mumps and rubella, as well as nine other diseases based on vaccine guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMR vaccinations are available at select Rite Aid pharmacies during pharmacy hours, and no appointment is necessary. Cost varies based on the patient's insurance coverage, and the MMR vaccine is covered by many insurance plans.
 
Currently, more than 70 Rite Aid pharmacies in the following counties have the MMR vaccine available: Ashland, Ashtabula, Clark, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Erie, Geauga, Hardin, Huron, Knox, Lorain, Lucas, Medina, Montgomery, Ottowa, Portage, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Wayne and Wood. The MMR vaccine can be ordered at other Rite Aid pharmacies upon request. 
 
Although young children typically receive the MMR vaccine from their primary healthcare providers as part of a regular vaccine schedule, the CDC recommends that adults ages 18 years or older born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they have either been vaccinated previously or have had all three diseases. Pregnant women should not receive an MMR vaccine.

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Reports: Former P&G chief Robert McDonald to lead Veterans Affairs

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — President Obama intends to nominate former Procter & Gamble head Robert McDonald to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary, according to published reports.

If confirmed, McDonald would succeed Eric Shinseki, who retired last month.

McDonald retired from P&G as chairman, president and CEO in 2013 after 33 years of service. McDonald led P&G from 2009 to 2013, during which time P&G realized annual sales of more than $84 billion dollars.

McDonald, who joined P&G in 1980, has a military background. The West Point graduate served as the Brigade Adjutant for the Corps of Cadets and was awarded the Silver Medal from The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, for being the most distinguished graduating cadet in academics, leadership and physical education. Upon graduation he was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honorary and earned his Engineer-In-Training qualification from the State of Pennsylvania.

After graduation, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army for five years, primarily in the 82nd Airborne Division. During his service, he not only completed his qualifications for Airborne, Ranger, Jungle, Arctic and Desert Warfare, Jumpmaster, Expert Infantry and Senior Parachutist, but also earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1978. Upon leaving the military he received the Meritorious Service Medal.

In response to the news, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stated, "Bob McDonald is a good man, a veteran and a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector. With those traits, he's the kind of person who is capable of implementing the kind of dramatic systemic change that is badly needed and long overdue at the VA. But the next VA secretary can only succeed in implementing that type of change if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world class healthcare system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform. Our nation's veterans deserve nothing less."

Also commenting on the news, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, stated, “I'm glad to see the President reach out to someone with a wealth of experience managing a complex organization who has also had a distinguished military career as a West Point graduate and Army Ranger. The next VA Secretary will face significant challenges because of the systemic problems throughout the VA and their mismanagement of veterans' health services. I've met with veterans from all over Ohio over the past several weeks and received their input on how best to fix the VA. I plan to share their views with Bob during his confirmation, which I plan to support. While new leadership at the top of the VA is desperately needed, it is also critical that the new secretary have the necessary tools to effect change and enforce accountability, including the ability to hire and fire top VA personnel.”

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