About Our E-Newsletter
The California Department of Education’s Nutrition Services Division (NSD) created this newsletter to provide SHAPE agencies with information, opportunities, and ideas to assist their ongoing development of healthier school environments. The newsletter includes information about upcoming training and funding opportunities, initiatives, useful resources, research, and policies. In addition, it offers SHAPE agencies an opportunity to share best practices with other SHAPE agencies and provide new ideas for creating healthier school environments.
The parent newsletter template [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/he/documents/shapenewsspring2012.doc] (DOC; 2MB) and attachment [http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet11KidFriendlyVeggiesAndFruits.pdf] (PDF) from the MyPlate “10 Tips Nutrition Education Series” are available for SHAPE schools to send home to parents. Please modify the newsletter as necessary for your audience.
By Anne Gaffney, Nutrition Specialist, Elk Grove Unified School District
The Elk Grove Unified School District is proud to be the recipient of the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) award. All 39 elementary schools in the district were recognized. Although the idea of receiving the recognition associated with the HUSSC award had long been appealing, submitting an application for the award was not a priority for our district until First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled her “Let’s Move!” campaign.
For years we have followed the SHAPE model and have been proud of the healthy meals served to students, the strong nutrition education program provided, and the efforts to give the wellness policy a strong presence on each campus. This year, we felt it was time to show that we were on board and ready to be recognized. As a SHAPE agency, we were already in compliance with most of the HUSSC requirements. Our biggest challenge was to apply for the award. The USDA simplified the application process by offering online e-mail submission and only one district application, which made it more attractive to apply.
Since receiving the HUSSC award, our district has seen many benefits that we had not expected or considered before we applied. We received recognition for our healthy school meals and nutrition education efforts at a press conference; each school was awarded a plaque. Representatives from all 39 sites were there to celebrate kids eating healthy meals. We have also been asked to speak on a Webinar and at a conference and write articles such as this. SHAPE agencies are already known for going above and beyond to provide a quality program. The HUSSC award not only provides recognition for the SHAPE agency and its staff—it also provides a marketing tool that lets teachers, administrators, parents, and the community know about the excellent quality of the nutrition program.
The NSD encourages SHAPE agencies to use this newsletter as a communication tool to share best practices with other SHAPE agencies in California. If you have any questions or would like to share a “SHAPEing Success” story, please contact Emily Dimond, SHAPE E-Newsletter Editor, by phone at 916-445-9162 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
By Louise Casias, Nutrition Education Consultant, California Department of Education
Get ready for the new meal patterns and nutrition standards for breakfast and lunch! On January 26, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the final rule for the new meal patterns and nutrition standards. The changes align meal patterns with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and recommendations by the Institute of Medicine. The changes include increasing fruits, vegetables and whole grains; reducing fat in fluid milk; reducing the levels of sodium over time; and requiring an upper and lower limit for calories. A big change with Offer versus Serve requires students to select at least ½ cup fruit or ½ cup vegetable at breakfast and lunch. Another big change includes moving to a single Food-Based Menu Planning meal pattern. Starting July 1, 2012, agencies will no longer be able to use the USDA Nutrient Standard Menu Planning (NSMP) or the SHAPE NSMP approaches for school lunch. For more information, visit the USDA Nutrition Standards for School Meals Web page [http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/nutritionstandards.htm] . Please contact Shannan Young at 916-445-9137 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The California Department of Education sponsors training sessions through the California Professional Nutrition Education and Training Center (Cal-Pro-NET).
Check out the following sessions to learn how to create a healthier school environment! Both online and in-person trainings are listed in the schedule below.
|Name of Training Session||Online/
|Date||For more Information|
Snack Time: Providing Healthy and Affordable Snacks After School
Online training available at CASRC and CHKRC Online Trainings [http://www.casrc-chkrcetrainings.org/training/modules]
Contact: Angelina Amarillas at 510-670-4587 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Wake up to More Fruits and Vegetables
Online training available at Wake up to more Fruits and Vegetables [http:www.wakeupfv.com]Contact: Deborah Beall by phone at 916-324-8790
Healthy & Active Preschoolers Web site for Child Care Programs
Visit the Healthy and Active Preschoolers Web site [http://www.healthypreschoolers.com]Contact: For technical assistance or more information, visit the Cal-Pro-NET Center, Fresno City College Web page [http://fresnocitycollege.edu/calpronet] , by phone at 559-489-2237, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
CACFP Healthy Meals, Healthy Children Training for Child Care Centers, Family Day Care Home Sponsoring Agencies, and Emergency Shelters
|In Person||Spring 2012||
Visit Fresno City College Cal-Pro-NET Center [http://fresnocitycollege.edu/calpronet]Contact: Cal-Pro-NET Center, Fresno City College by phone at 559-489-2237, or 559-244-5999 ext. 2376, 2377, 2378, 2379, 2380 or 2381, or by e-mail at email@example.com
|2011–12 Mandatory Annual Training for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) Sponsors||Online||Apri-June 2012||Contact: Linda Sweeney, Cal-Pro-NET Center, San Jose State University, 408-924-3125 or by e-mail at Linda.Sweeney@sjsu.edu|
|Child Nutrition Program Administration Course||In Person||June 18-22, 2012 in Ontario
July 23-27, 2012 in Sacramento
|Contact: Linda Sweeney, Cal-Pro-NET Center, San Jose State University, 408-924-3125 or by e-mail at Linda.Sweeney@sjsu.edu|
Today’s new Meal Pattern Priorities (NewMAPP) provides a wealth of information and resources to support your transition to the New Meal Pattern (NMP). Highlights include opportunities to participate in live Webinars and to access archived Webinars and recently released information on the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC).
University of California, Davis (UCD), California Professional Nutrition Education and Training Center (Cal-Pro-Net) Webinar Series:
- Menu Production Records - June 7, 2012
- Meal Claiming - June 21, 2012
- Salad Bars - August 16, 2012
- Offer versus Serve - August 16, 2012
- Transporting Meals - August 30, 2012
For more information, contact Grace Huppert by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Walmart Local Community Contribution Program provides support to local nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and K–12 schools and higher education institutions located in communities with Walmart stores, logistics facilities, or Sam’s Clubs. Churches and other faith-based organizations with projects that address the needs of the community at large are also eligible for support. Organizations that apply for financial assistance must address one of the following focus areas: education, workforce development/economic opportunity, health and wellness, environmental sustainability, or hunger relief. Grants generally range from $250 to $5,000. Applications are accepted from February 1 through December 1 each year. Online application guidelines are available through the Walmart Community Grants Web page [http://www.walmartstores.com/CommunityGiving/10526.aspx] .
The “Let's Move!” campaign, in association with the USDA, challenged school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, parents, and interested community members to create tasty, healthy, exciting new recipes for inclusion on school lunch menus across the country.Participants formed teams to prepare at least one healthy recipe in one of three categories (Whole Grains, Dark Green and Orange Vegetables, or Dry Beans and Peas). Their creations were served in the school’s cafeteria and rated by students. Fifteen semifinalist teams had their recipes evaluated by USDA’s judging panel during events held at their school, and the top three teams competed in a cook-off at the 2011 American Culinary Federation National Convention to determine the grand-prize winner. Winning teams were invited to prepare their nutrition-packed meals alongside the White House chef.
As one of the 15 finalists, Manteca Unified School District (USD) prepared a dish—the Central Valley Harvest Bake—in the vegetable category.
Patty Page, director of Nutrition Services for Manteca USD, commented on Manteca’s success in the Challenge: “Manteca USD was very excited to receive first place in the Recipes for Healthier Kids Challenge.Being a SHAPE agency helped with our success, as we have created a culture accepting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.This culture helped us to create a recipe that was different, since it incorporated a less frequently used vegetable, butternut squash, and the students still found it acceptable.
“A great deal of time was spent developing and perfecting the recipe, and that investment of time created some wonderful partnerships with our local community and our own school environments. Currently, much of the produce used in the recipe is being grown in our student garden.The recipe will also be one of the orange vegetable choices needed for the next submission for the HUSSC.The biggest tip that I would have is to rememberthat many of the things we invest time into are not stand-alone activities but are building blocks for future successes.”
Manteca USD’s “Central Valley Harvest Bake” recipe and other submitted recipes may be viewed at the Recipes for Healthy Kids Web page [http://www.recipesforkidschallenge.com/submissions] .
The USDA recently released the new “SuperTracker,” an updated tool designed to help users plan, analyze, and track their diet and physical activity. It features recommendations for improvement in tracked diet and exercise. The USDA also released existing MyPlate resources in Spanish. Resources include the “Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series” sheets and useful graphics such as posters and coloring sheets. Visit the USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov Web site [http://www.choosemyplate.gov/] to access these resources.
California now has the highest number of HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) schools in the nation: 561. In the last round of approvals, the USDA approved 490 schools from the Los Angeles Unified School District (USD), with a majority of bronze awards, plus five silver and three “Gold Awards of Distinction”—making up the majority of California’s HUSSC award-winning schools. The USDA also approved 39 schools from Elk Grove USD, eight schools from Ventura USD, one school from Fort Bragg USD, one school from San Diego USD, and one school from Livermore Valley Joint USD, each earning various award levels; and Bakersfield City School District obtained one Gold Award of Distinction. View the award-winning schools within each school district at the USDA HUSSC California Award Winners Web site [http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthierus/California.html] . Go, California!
At the National State Board Directors meeting on October 1, 2011, California received recognition, accounting for 25 percent of the 2,161 HUSSC winners in the United States. First Lady Michelle Obama recognized HUSSC schools at the White House on October 17, 2011, for their dedication and hard work in creating healthier school environments. During her speech, the First Lady recognized Billy Reid, Food Service Director from Salida USD, for his hard work and success in the HUSSC. Six Salida USD schools won Gold Awards of Distinction.
California is a serious contender in the HUSSC, and agencies should join in! A SHAPE school district may already meet most of the requirements for the HUSSC. Districts may be eligible for recognition (with a few potential changes), through awards, for the healthy meals already administered. The NSD can help districts meet the challenge. Please visit the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Web page [http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/] and select HealthierUS School Challenge to access the HUSSC application and other resources.
The USDA established additional criteria for the HUSSC award that go into effect July 1, 2012. Visit the USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Web page [http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/HealthierUS/2012criteria.html] for more information.
To receive a hard copy of the HUSSC Application Kit or to obtain more information, please contact Elizabeth Moreno, Nutrition Education Consultant, by phone at 916-324-9749, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Sign up for the National Farm to School newsletter [http://www.farmtoschool.org/contact.php] to receive the latest information from the Farm to School Network. The newsletter provides updates, information about Webinars and resources, and more.
New SNAP to Health Web Site: A Virtual Town Hall Created to Improve
A new Web site was launched for the USDA’s largest food assistance program—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program—in response to a dramatic increase in enrollment caused by the U.S. economic recession. Enrollment reached an all-time high of 45.8 million, which is more than 15 percent of the U.S. population. SNAP is a safety net for low-income families and individuals, providing them with resources to purchase food. This program addresses food insecurity and hunger; however, there is little regulation of the nutritional value of the food purchased. With 68 percent of the U.S. population currently overweight or obese, and a large portion of this percentage coming from low-income households, the SNAP program is developing strategies to enhance nutrition education and program implementation and fight obesity.
the Health and Nutrition of Americans Enrolled in SNAP
The new Web site, SNAP to Health, serves as a “virtual town hall” for discussion of the current state of nutrition, obesity, and food insecurity in the United States, led by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. As stated in the article “SNAP to Health: Strengthening Nutrition in the Federal Food Stamp Program,” the purpose of the new Web site is “to put health and nutrition at the forefront of discussions guiding the 2012 reauthorization of SNAP in the Farm Bill by identifying the barriers, best practices and promising innovations for improving nutrition within this federal food assistance program.” Check out the new SNAP to Health Web site [http://www.snaptohealth.org/] and include your concerns and ideas in some of the discussion forums.1
By Tracy Conkey, Senior Territory Manager, Dairy Council of California
Fuel Up to Play 60, the in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League on the Dairy Council of California Web page [http://www.dairycouncilofca.org/Educators] , in collaboration with the USDA, is helping to make wellness a part of the game plan in more than 70,000 schools across the country. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an effective way to get students involved in implementing the wellness policy. Students are encouraged to take a leadership role by implementing the activities on the Fuel Up to Play 60 Web pages [http://school.fueluptoplay60.com/playbook/playlist.php?type=Healthy Eating] and Physical Activity Plays [http://school.fueluptoplay60.com/playbook/playlist.php?type=Physical Activity] to build a healthier school environment. To learn more and find out how you can get involved, visit the Fuel Up to Play 60 Web site [http://school.fueluptoplay60.com/home.php] .
By Kamaljeet Singh-Khaira, Youth Initiatives Consultant, California Department of Public Health, The Network for a Healthy California
The Network for a Healthy California recently updated its Inspiring Youth booklet, which was released on January 1, 2012. This guide supports youth leaders and the adult allies that work with them in creating and conducting youth-led action projects on middle and high school campuses around nutrition education, obesity prevention, and service- learning. This comprehensive resource highlights the lessons learned across California and best practices from the past five years. Youth-led participatory action research is a method of authentically engaging young people in identifying information that can serve to change or initiate a program, organization, or campaign that affects them and their entire school. Young people frame the questions, design and use methods to collect data, analyze information, make recommendations, and work with others to follow through with action. This new resource is available both electronically and in print. To order a copy or for more information, please contact Kamaljeet Singh-Khaira, Youth Initiatives Consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 916-449-5437.
By Billy Beltz, Marketing Manager, SPARK
SPARK, a research-based organization in San Diego and provider of the world’s most field-tested physical education (PE) programs, is proud to announce its new middle school PE Program. After years of research, SPARK is excited to offer this new package of curriculum, training materials, and equipment for the first time ever! Developed from the three largest studies on middle school students, the package is the first middle school PE program based on research evidence. It is aligned with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education national and state standards. The curriculum has the following features:
- More than 400 activities presented via 16 instructional units
- Multiple authentic assessment tools to assess skill, fitness, behavioral goals
- More than 100 videos: lessons, dances, circuit-training, and more
- Technology-rich content that is optimized for use on an iPad
To learn more, visit the Spark PE Web site [http://www.sparkpe.org/] .
California Project LEAN Releases New Video Workshop Series: Successful Students Through Healthy Food and Fitness Policies
By Deidre Kleske, Health Educator, and Victoria Berends, Marketing Director, California Project LEAN
Learn how to positively impact school wellness through a dynamic video series from California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition). These videos were produced in partnership with the California School Boards Association and California Active Communities of the California Department of Public Health. The video workshops, funded by the California Endowment, provide insight from a panel of experts on the following topics:
- Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity in Physical Education [http://www.californiaprojectlean.org/doc.asp?id=245#video]
- Physical Activity During the School Day [http://www.californiaprojectlean.org/doc.asp?id=249#video]
- Safe Routes to School [http://www.californiaprojectlean.org/doc.asp?id=250#video]
- Joint Use of School Facilities [http://www.californiaprojectlean.org/doc.asp?id=251#video]
- Increasing Consumption of Healthy Beverages [http://www.californiaprojectlean.org/doc.asp?id=252#video]
Additionally, resources are provided to link viewers to research, tool kits, sample policy language, and Web sites for each topic.
Video workshops are a cost-effective way to quickly educate and inform wellness council members, school staff, school board members, parents, and other school wellness supporters individually or in a group setting. View the video workshops on the California Project LEAN Video Workshops Web page [http://www.californiaprojectlean.org/doc.asp?id=246&parentid=168] .
For questions about the video workshops or about California Project LEAN, contact Victoria Berends, Marketing Director, California Project LEAN, at email@example.com.
Create an active partnership that lasts—nutrition, physical activity, and learning! Adding 10 minutes of classroom activity each day benefits teachers and students. How? These minutes support the recommendation that students spend 60 minutes a day in physical activity, and when these activities are strategically placed, they provide an entertaining way to reinforce nutrition, language arts, and other subject area concepts. Sparking fun through physical activity can improve students’ attentiveness, concentration, and behavior while reengaging students in learning. Introduce one or two activities at the next teacher or staff meeting, and encourage others to try these ideas and resources in their classrooms or programs.
North Carolina’s Eat Smart, Move More—Energizers for Elementary School[http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/Energizers/Elementary.html]
These 10-minute energizers were featured at the SHAPE California workshops. They are designed for teachers and other adults working with youths to integrate physical activity with academic concepts.
Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools and Fit Bits [http://www.michiganfitness.org/fitbits/]
This nutrition curriculum and physical activity set involves students in ways to improve their nutrition and physical activity environment. The Fit Bit grade-level cards include short (10-minute) physical activities to support personal and social skills and healthy nutrition habits. A CD that demonstrates each activity is included.
Take 10! [http://www.take10.net/]
This tool integrates nutrition and physical activity with active learning that reinforces language arts, math, science, social studies, and health content. The 31 activities require little preparation time and are designed to support daily lesson plans. Signs are provided to designate Take 10 classrooms and remind others to incorporate more activity throughout their day.
More information and tools about nutrition, physical activity, and learning are available at the CHKRC Web site [http://www.californiahealthykids.org/index] —check the Research and Resources page or call toll-free at 1-888-318-8188.
By Margo Wootan, Director, Nutrition Policy Center for Science in Public Interest
The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a new fact sheet on sodium and children. It lays out a strong case for why sodium reduction in children’s diets is important, including in school meals. It presents the following facts:
- Reducing sodium intake could have a big impact on health and health care costs—nationally, a 9.5 percent drop in sodium intake could reduce cardiac events by 1 million and health care costs by $32 billion.
- Children’s salt preferences are influenced by food choices; a liking for salt can be reduced if children are exposed to a lower-sodium diet when young.
- Children are eating too much salt, including the salt in school lunches.
- Children with high blood pressure show warning signs for heart disease while still in childhood.
- The prevalence of high blood pressure in children is increasing.
Harvest of the Month Spreads Nationally: Nutrition Education Resources Linked to Curriculum Standards Connect the Classroom, Cafeteria, Home, and Community
By Katharina A. Streng, Harvest of the Month Manager, Network for a Healthy California
Momentum is building across California and the nation with more and more schools beginning to integrate “Harvest of theMonth” into nutrition education programs. Standardized and developed by the California Department of Public Health’s Network for a Healthy California, Harvest of the Month offers a wealth of year-round educational materials that are designed to motivate and empower students to make healthy choices through hands-on learning experiences with fruits, vegetables, and physical activity. Resources can be used to support healthy eating and physical activity through the cafeteria, at home, in the classroom, and in community settings like local farms, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and restaurants.
Since the inception of Harvest of the Month in 2005, over one million children in California annually have been involved in localprograms. In recent years, Harvest of the Month has been adopted and implemented by numerous other states.
With a focus on California grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, Harvest of the Month consists of four key resources known as the monthly elements: four-page educator newsletters, multilingual family newsletters, bilingual community newsletters, and bilingual menu slicks. Each monthly element features easy-to-read facts, tips, and engaging activities to help students incorporate eating more fruits and vegetables into their everyday diet. The family newsletters are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, and Russian. The community newsletters and menu slicks are available in English and Spanish.
All Harvest of the Month resources, like the educator newsletter, are linked to California’s content standards for easy integration into school lessons. The different California-grown produce in the curriculum each month enables students to learn about the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, history, botanical growing information, and California agriculture and farming industry.
Learning is enhanced with connections to the cafeteria and community through taste tests, Farm to School programs, school garden activities and partnerships with retail stores. It is not uncommon to see Harvest of the Month produce items appear each month in the cafeteria, where they are incorporated in school breakfast and lunch menus and promote the school’s child nutrition programs.
An online, comprehensive training component [http://www.harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/TrainingCorner/index.asp] featuring a 10-minute video shows what a successful Harvest of the Month program looks like. In addition to the video, the online training provides a downloadable instruction guide, a preparation worksheet, and training handouts to help staff deliver a program that is fun and effective.
The monthly elements and other resources are available for free from the Harvest of the Month Web site [http://www.harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/] . For additional information, contact Katharina Streng, Network for a Healthy California, at 916-552-9843 or visit harvestofthemonth.com [http://www.harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/] to learn more.
By Jimmy Nguyen, Program Analyst, FNS Office of Strategic Initiatives, Partnerships, and Outreach
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) launched a new Web page called “Get Involved!” [http://www.fns.usda.gov/outreach/getinvolved] . The site offers tools to improve outreach efforts such as SNAP, Summer Food, CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals, and more. Visit the new Web page to discover how an organization or even an individual can dive into FNS outreach.
There are three main sections of the new Web page:
- New-to-FNS page: “Get Started” offers information for organizations that want to get started and have done limited or no outreach with FNS in the past. It connects them with an overview of FNS programs and the resources to start a meal or outreach program from scratch.
- In the News: If you scroll past this New-to-FNS section, you will see the “In the News” section, which features new outreach resources, updates on initiatives and programs, and other highlights.
- Outreach and Partnership Resources: Scroll a little farther and you will see a grid of graphics that represent helpful topic areas. FNS partners needed to know from its Web site answers to the following questions:
- How do I order outreach materials?
- Where do I register for Webinars and listen to past webcasts?
- How can I get funding?
- Where do I find data and reports?
- Is there a toolkit for ____________?
- Where do I find information on Let’s Move!, Ending Childhood Hunger, and other initiatives?
- How do I partner with FNS?
New research suggests that the city of Boston’s ban on all sugary drinks, including soda, sports drinks, and sweetened iced teas from city vending machines, school cafeterias, and concession stands has been effective in limiting intake of sugary drinks by children. The outcome suggests that a simple policy change, such as limiting access to an identified factor in childhood obesity, can have a huge impact on individual behavior: Even though students could not get sugary drinks at school, they did not buy the drinks elsewhere.2
Read the full CBS News article [http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20099305-10391704.html] .
New studies show that exercise results in an overall increase in a student’s ability to concentrate in class. A study conducted in Rome of 138 children ranging from eight to eleven years old shows that a student’s ability to be attentive and concentrate is not only increased by breaks throughout the school day and physical education classes, but different types of exercise are more effective than others in affecting student performance. Exercise “geared toward the development of both motor control and perceptual-motor adaptation abilities,”3 such as drills with a ball, proved much less positive affectivity than exercise focused on endurance, such as running.Read the full article at the New York Times Health and Science Web page [http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/how-gym-class-can-help-students-excel/?smid=tw-nytimeswell&seid=auto] . Evaluating Sugary Drink Nutrition and Marketing to Youth [http://www.sugarydrinkfacts.org/resources/SugaryDrinkFACTS_Report.pdf] (PDF; 9MB) found on the FACTS Web page, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rudd Foundation, was recently released by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity in October 2011. Sugary drinks are a major concern in the health community, as they are recognized as one of America’s top contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic. The report states that “just one drink, regular soda, or energy drink contains more added sugar than most young people should consume in an entire day.” In fact, “drinking just one 8-ounce sugary drink every day increases a child’s odds of becoming obese by 60 percent. . . . Yet beverage companies continue to market these products aggressively to children and teens.”4
Visit the FACTS Web site [http://www.sugarydrinkfacts.org/] for more information about the research, results, and recommendations.
Research shows that taking more time to eat is a more healthy practice for multiple reasons. Eating a meal quickly often results in higher calorie consumption, feeling hungry relatively faster, and a generally less “healthy” meal, because healthy food takes longer to eat; for example, an apple takes longer to eat than does applesauce. Many school districts in the United States allot shorter-than-recommended lunch times for their students, which may contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic. Nanci Hellmich, from USA Today, reports on this phenomenon in her article “Cutting Short Lunch Time in School May Lead to Obesity” on the USA Today Web site [http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/story/2011/08/Cutting-short-lunch-time-in-school-may-lead-to-obesity/50027612/1] . “A new national survey by the School Nutrition Association shows elementary kids have about 25 minutes for lunch; middle school and high school students about 30 minutes. That includes the time students need to go to the restroom, wash their hands, walk to the cafeteria and stand in line for their meals. Many students may have only about 10 to 15 minutes left to eat their meals, school nutrition directors say. But students should have at least 20 minutes to eat their lunch, the government recommends.”5
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) combined research and knowledge of best practices that promote healthy eating and physical activity to create nine guidelines for schools in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity” was published in September 2011 and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Guidelines presented first focus on the importance of a coordinated approach for nutrition and physical activity policies and practices within a health-promoting school environment. Then, guidelines pertaining to nutrition services and physical education are provided, followed by guidelines for health education, health, mental health and social services, family and community involvement, staff wellness, and professional development for staff.6
Each guideline presents strategies supported by research, and resources to help schools follow the guidelines. Read the full report and the executive summary on the CDC Nutrition, Physical Activity, & Obesity Web page [http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/npao/strategies.htm] .
The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance
The CDC report, The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance, published in June 2011 and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services synthesizes “the scientific literature that has examined the association between school-based physical activity, including physical education and academic performance, including indicators of cognitive skills and attitudes, academic behaviors, and academic achievement.”7
View the full document on the CDC Health & Academics Publications & Resources Web page [http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health_and_academics/publications.htm] .
Local School Wellness Policy Update: How to Share, Strengthen, Evaluate, and Report Information About Your Wellness Policy
By Heather Reed, Consultant, Nutrition Services Division, California Department of Education
Where in the world are your wellness policies?
When is the last time you read your district’s local school wellness policies? How easy would it be for others, especially parents, to locate the policy? If your district is like many school districts, you might not be able to answer these questions readily.
The 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act requires schools to have in place wellness policies. Districts must strengthen their policies, especially the monitoring aspect. Along with that requirement, districts need to be transparent about informing and updating the public about their implementation plans. Furthermore, districts will also need to be more inclusive about the participation of stakeholders in the process of reviewing and revising their policies.
Share your policy
SHAPE agencies can get a head start on this by locating the wellness policies. Agencies need to pay attention to how easy it was to find them.
Meet with your district’s wellness committee and develop a plan to make finding the wellness policy as easy as possible. This might include posting it clearly on the district’s Web page, creating a flyer that highlights to parents the essential parts of the policy, and sharing information at back-to-school nights and other school events.
The Food and Research Action Center has developed a brochure [http://www.thriveri.org/documents/5.11_FRAC_Parent_Outreach_brochure.pdf] (PDF) that models how to share information with parents.
Evaluate your policy
Then you can do a quick evaluation of how strong your policy is by using the following guidelines:
- Comprehensive: All sections included
- Strong Language: Requires implementation
- Strong Language: “Shall, must, will, require, comply, enforce”
- Weak Language: “Should, might, encourage, promote, some, to the extent possible”
- Specific Subsections: The policy provides details such as amount of time spent on each activity, who will conduct it, and the guidelines to be used.
You may decide you want to conduct a more in-depth review of your policy. This is best done by a committee in which each member has a stake in the changes. Many excellent tools exist for a more comprehensive review. Here are just a few:
- USDA. Changing the Scene Improvement Checklist [http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/Resources/support.pdf] (PDF). The checklist can help assess where things stand in a school and help focus on exactly what needs to be done.
- The State of Michigan. PRE-project Changing the Scene School Improvement[http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/Healthy/MI_checklist.pdf] (PDF). This is a modified checklist to help measure progress.
- CDC. ‟School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide” [http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DASH_SHI/default/Login.aspx] . This tool is designed to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of nutrition and physical activity policies and programs and develop an action plan for improvement.
- FamilyCook Productions. School Community Food Assessment [http://www.familycookproductions.com/] . This Web-based tool is designed to develop school nutrition policies and emphasizes student input and involvement.
- WellSAT.org [http://www.wellsat.org/] .
This tool is designed for online assessment of school wellness policies.
Report information about your wellness policy
Districts will now be required to report on their wellness policy implementation regularly. Get ready by finding out the process to present to the school board and by deciding what information to share. Make a plan on how to gather the data, how to report it, and when and who will present the report. Often, the report will include information about participation in national school meal programs, results of the district’s fitness grams, and the plan and progress. Highlight successful events and showcase students and other participants in the presentation.If you need help with the reporting process, please contact Heather Reed, Nutrition Education Consultant with the California Department of Education, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the information in this newsletter, please contact Emily Dimond by e-mail at email@example.com.
The SHAPE E-Newsletter is funded by the California Department of Education (CDE).
The USDA and CDE are equal-opportunity providers and employers.
1 Susan Blumenthal, “SNAP to Health: Strengthening Nutrition in the Federal Food Stamp Program.” Huffington Post, December 12, 2011. Huff Post Healthy Living [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-blumenthal/food-stamps_b_1143463.html?ref=healthy-living] (accessed December 28, 2011).
2 David W. Freeman, “Do School Soda Bans Curb Obesity in Kids? What Boston Study Shows.” CBS News, August 30, 2011. CBS News [http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20099305-10391704.html] (accessed December 20, 2011).
3 Gretchen Reynolds, “For Better Grades, Try Gym Class.” New York Times (August 10, 2011). NY Times [http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/how-gym-class-can-help-students-excel/?smid=tw-nytimeswell&seid=auto] (accessed December 20, 2011).
4 Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Sugary Drink FACTS: Evaluating Sugary Drink Nutrition and Marketing to Youth. [http://www.sugarydrinkfacts.org/resources/SugaryDrinkFACTS_Report.pdf] (PDF; 9MB; accessed December 22, 2011).
5 Nanci Hellmich, “Cutting Short Lunch Time in School May Lead to Obesity,” USAToday, August 17, 2011. USA Today [http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/story/2011/08/Cutting-short-lunch-time-in-school-may-lead-to-obesity/50027612/1] (accessed December 22, 2011).
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, September 16, 2011 [http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr6005.pdf] (PDF; 1MB; accessed December 22, 2011).
7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance, revised 2010 [http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf] (PDF; 3MB; accessed December 22, 2011).