Judy Tart
Judy Tart
The HealthierUS Schools Challenge (HUSSC) is a voluntary certification initiative, established to recognize those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.

In February 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the Let's Move Campaign. This was united with the HealthierUS Schools Challenge to help raise a generation of kids who are healthier. There are incentive awards for schools at various levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Gold Award of Distinction. As of February 2012, there are 2,862 schools in 45 states that are certified.

The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) establishes rigorous criteria for schools to qualify. Meals must meet new nutrition guidelines consisting of less fat, lower sodium, whole grains, more fresh fruits and vegetables. Schools must provide opportunities for physical activity at all grade levels. Nutrition education for students is also required. Schools must create a "wellness team" or as the HUSSC calls it, "Team Nutrition," which is a network of public and private partnerships of parents, teachers, food service staff, health and education groups, and the food and agricultural community.

Team Nutrition is dedicated to making the school lunch program better and providing fun and entertaining nutrition education activities in the classroom and the cafeteria. Students take home parent materials to link school learning with nutrition education activities that can be shared with the family. Program materials encourage students to make food and physical activity choices for a healthy lifestyle. Some of the behavior outcomes that are focused on are:

• eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains

• eat foods that are lower in fat

• eat calcium-rich foods

• be physically active

Kingsland is going to change their meal plans April 2 for the high school by eliminating ala carte items and adding three new meal choices:

• salad bar/fruit/breadstick

• variety of sandwich choices/fruit/vegetable

• homemade soup of the day/fruit/vegetable/breadstick

Good nutrition begins at home - and should continue at school, but it takes more than healthy school meals to reach our goal of healthy children. Parents can help by encouraging their children to try a variety of fruits and vegetables at home. Limit time spent watching television, playing video games and "social networking" on the computer. Provide opportunities for your children to play sports or any activities that help achieve physical fitness.

With these commitments, our students will receive more nutritious meals in school and have better information on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity, putting them on track to a healthier life.