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SNA Partners with First Lady Michelle Obama's Childhood Obesity Initiative

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
703-576-7526 Ext.
dpratt-heavner@schoolnutrition.org

SNA Partners with First Lady Michelle Obama's Childhood Obesity Initiative

 

SCHOOL NUTRITION PROFESSIONALS COMMIT TO NEW NUTRITION PROGRAMS AND GOALS

 

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (February 9, 2010) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA), representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals, is proud to support First Lady Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative. SNA and its members have agreed to a number of key steps to further improve the nutritional quality of school meals and advance nutrition education for America’s students. Commitments include:

  1. Challenge school nutrition programs to achieve US Department of Agriculture’s HealthierUS School Challenge Certification, significantly increasing the number of schools nationwide meeting the program’s goals:
    • SNA will work with USDA to eliminate current barriers for recognition, ensuring more schools can participate in the program; provide training and mentoring to assist school nutrition programs in meeting the HealthierUS School Challenge requirements; and promote the program through conferences and meetings, publications and events
    • SNA’s goal is to increase the number of HealthierUS Schools from the current 600 to 2,000 in year one, and with the support of other education community partners, reach 10,000 HealthierUS Schools by year five
  2. Encourage school nutrition directors to partner with the Center for Disease Control’s Coordinated School Health Programs to improve the school health environment. SNA will offer educational programs and training on successfully implementing the Coordinated School Health Program.
  3. Challenge school nutrition program directors to accelerate the time frame for meeting the Institute on Medicine’s (IOM) National Nutrition Standards for school meals. To meet this goal, SNA will initiate the following during the 2010-2011 school year:
    • Develop and promote the LAMP Awards (Leading Advancements in Menu Planning), a recognition program encouraging school districts and industry members to use innovative menu plans, recipe and product development, and other tools to achieve IOM goals prior to the timeline for implementation
    • Partner with local fruit and vegetable growers through Farm to School Programs to promote consumption of more fresh fruit and vegetables
    • Partner with industry to provide more affordable whole grain products and to develop nutrition education campaigns influencing students to consume more nutrient-dense foods at a critical time in their development
  4. Advance nutrition education opportunities for all students. With the First Lady and federal officials, SNA plans to partner with media, technology, and education program leaders to bring turnkey nutrition education into the classroom, cafeteria, and home

“First Lady Michelle Obama recognizes how crucial school meals are to the health and academic success of America’s children, and school nutrition professionals are proud to support the First Lady’s effort to combat childhood obesity and strengthen under-funded school meals programs,” said School Nutrition Association President Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, and executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services for the Dallas Independent School District in Texas.

“Since announcing her initiative, the First Lady has eloquently shared her own struggles as a working mom to foster healthy lifestyles for her children,” said Rivas. “The School Nutrition Association looks forward to working with the First Lady to encourage America’s families to get involved in school nutrition programs and promote physical activity and healthy eating at home.”

“The school cafeteria is a classroom for students – an opportunity for them to learn about nutrition and well-balanced meals. School nutrition programs need the support of parents and families to succeed - whether joining students for lunch or making time to talk with them about the food they eat at school, taking an interest in a child’s eating habits can lead to a lifetime of good choices. After all, when a child has tried new fruits and vegetables at home, he or she is more likely to pick up those items when they walk through the lunch line.”

The First Lady’s initiative was launched just as Congress prepares to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, a critical opportunity for legislators to enhance the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs for 31 million American children who benefit from school meals each day.

“SNA has been calling on Congress to increase the school meal reimbursement to keep pace with rising costs. We hope the First Lady’s activism will encourage legislators to provide school lunch professionals with the support they need to offer an even greater variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to students,” said Rivas.

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The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

 

 Related Links

  SNA Plan for Supporting First Lady Initiative  (pdf)

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