USDA Announces New Criteria for the HealthierUS School Challenge

March 6, 2012—The Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service announces new criteria for the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). These new criteria reflect the recent changes to the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program meal pattern requirements.  The program will continue to recognize schools that go above and beyond federal requirements for school meals.  
The implementation of these new criteria will coincide with the implementation of the new meal pattern.  All new applications submitted on or after July 1, 2012, will be considered using the new criteria.  Schools will continue to be recognized at four award levels: Gold Award of Distinction, Gold, Silver or Bronze level.

FNS plans to release a revised HUSSC application form, technical assistance materials and training tools in Spring/Summer 2012.
Major changes to the criteria include:

Breakfast Criteria
• Under the 2012 criteria, schools must participate in the SBP and, for upper award levels, meet Average Daily Participation (ADP) criteria for breakfast.
• Schools must meet criteria relating to fruits and/or vegetables whole grains, and lowfat and fat-free milk at breakfast.

“Other Criteria for Excellence” Category
• Schools may meet criteria in this category by selecting from 20 options relating to program outreach, physical activity, nutrition education and school and community involvement in wellness efforts. The number of options a school must accomplish varies by award level.

Lunch Criteria
• The 2012 HUSSC criteria are updated to reflect NSLP meal pattern requirements, while continuing to encourage schools to offer a variety of vegetables, fresh fruit and whole grain-rich grains.
ADP Calculation Method
• The ADP criteria for NSLP and SBP are based on attendance rather than enrollment.
The 2012 HUSSC criteria also include modifications to nutrition education requirements for elementary and middle schools and update Local Wellness Policy criteria to be consistent with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Related Links
HealthierUS School Challenge: 2012 Application Criteria
SNA Meal Pattern Resource Center


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