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Week of Nov. 8, 2010: Healthy schools highlights

Flagstaff, Ariz., schools sends obesity fight home

The Arizona Daily Sun reports on a more draconian approach to school health.

“A couple thousand Flagstaff parents will soon receive letters from the school district stating their elementary-school children are overweight or at risk of becoming so. This is arguably the most serious step Flagstaff Unified School District has ever taken to counter obesity beyond the schoolhouse. It’s happening because Flagstaff’s medical community is warning of life-shortening consequences for part of a generation if nothing changes. Although Coconino County’s adults have the lowest rate of obesity in the state and the prevalence of adult obesity here is among the lowest in the country (17 percent as of 2007), the same does not seem to hold true for the community’s children.”

L.A. school district doesn’t bite at ‘Food Revolution’ chef’s offer

The Los Angeles Times writes about the famed chef and school wellness activist getting rebuffed in LA.

Jamie Oliver, the English chef who took on the “lunch ladies” of Huntington, W.Va., in an attempt to make school food more healthful, has been told thanks but no thanks by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“Our feeling was that his time would be better spent or invested in other communities,” Melissa Infusino, the director of partnerships in the superintendent’s office, said Friday.

Oliver is bringing his “Food Revolution” reality television show to L.A. for its second season, and he and his family plan to move to the area in January, a spokeswoman said.”

But Oliver is very much in demand “Down Under.” The AFP reports that Oliver is bringing his battle against obesity to Australia.

School nutrition bill could be revived in Congress

The Washington Examiner publishes an AP story on the latest twist and turns in the Congressional debate over child nutrition standards.

WASHINGTON — First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign for healthier school lunches could be revived in Congress after two key Democrats said they will drop opposition to using funding from food stamps to pay for it. Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts have said they will support House passage of a $4.5 billion child nutrition bill that passed the Senate earlier this year. Backed by some anti-hunger groups, the two lawmakers led opposition to passage of that version before the election because it is partially paid for with $2.2 billion taken from future funding for food stamp programs.

Education nonprofit lauds Colorado schools for healthful efforts

The Denver Post reports on 15 schools that have taken steps toward healthier students and staff.

“Giving students time to “get the wiggles out,” scheduling recess before lunch, and harvesting school gardens with the community are some of the practices that Colorado’s healthy schools have embraced. Tuesday, the Colorado Legacy Foundation recognized 15 Colorado schools as Healthy School Champions at the Healthy Schools Summit. The schools were ranked as the top 25 percent using a scorecard started this year that evaluated 109 schools’ policies and efforts to maintain a healthy environment.”

Nut butter maker raises money for school lunches

Justin Gold , founder of Justin’s Nut Butter, a Boulder-based maker of nut-butter products, recently set up a tent at the Boulder Farmers’ Market and raised money for a local school lunch program. In addition to giving away squeeze packs to kids as Halloween treats, Gold sold his products, donating the proceeds to the Boulder School Lunch Program. By the end of the day he had raised and donated more than $1,800 to Ann Cooper, a school nutrition expert who was hired by Boulder Valley School District to head the district’s nutrition services.

Most school garden produce is forbidden fruit in some lunchrooms

The Washington Post publishes a story addressing an issue many districts face: How to get the veggies harvested from school gardens into the children’s mouths.

“It’s harvest time in Chicago public school gardens full of chubby tomatoes, heavy squash and fragrant basil.

Carefully tended by teachers, students and volunteers, these urban oases range from several square feet to several acres of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers – and some schools even grow plants year-round in greenhouses.

But one thing the more than 40 gardens have in common is that none of the produce ever finds its way into school lunchrooms. Instead, because of rules set by the Chicago Public Schools and the district’s meal provider, the food is sold or given away.”

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