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This week’s healthy schools highlights

Schools dangle carrot snacks, but it’s a tough sale

COMMACK, N.Y. — The new vending machine sat unnoticed as students rushed past its baby carrots, yogurt smoothies and hummus to neighbors dispensing Snapple, Doritos, Goldfish and Cheez-It. The lunch period was nearly over before a potential customer stopped to check out its offerings. Read more in the New York Times.

The thinnest state loosens its belt

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America.

The obesity crisis is catching up with Colorado, the nation’s thinnest state.

Being fit is part of the culture in Colorado: there are biking trails and hiking trails and ski slopes and even the high altitude itself helps burn off calories. But waistlines are widening, especially among children.

And in 2010, Colorado lost its status as the only state with an obesity rate lower than 20 percent. It’s rate is 21 percent. Listen to the NPR report.

Fort Collins elementary students learn cancer fighting strategies

Irish Elementary students hope to “Kick –Out Cancer” with their efforts to learn about cancer prevention and raise money for a new youth cancer wing at Poudre Valley Hospital.

Wearing green “Kick-Out Cancer!” t-shirts, Irish students recently participated in a wellness day that focused on fun activities like running, playing soccer and jumping rope. The wellness day was the culminating activity to two-weeks of learning about healthy living and cancer prevention. Read the Poudre news release.

School lunch blogger ‘Mrs. Q’ drops anonymity

Sarah Wu does not look like a troublemaker. The slight, blond mom comes off, by her own admission, as “a super nice person … without a bad word to say.”

That may be why the speech pathologist was able to crank out an incisive daily blog scrutinizing school meals for an entire year without anyone suspecting her. Writing as “Mrs. Q,” she bought lunch each school day of 2010, photographed it, ate it and wrote about it that night under the title Fed Up With Lunch. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

Hayden schools take advantage of grant funding

Hayden — Hayden School District Superintendent Mike Luppes told his school board last week that when students returned to classes earlier this month, they were likely to notice several improvements paid for by substantial grant funding the district received this year. Read more in Steamboat Today.

Boulder school: Will pedal for food

This past week, Heatherwood Elementary in Boulder hosted its Fall Walk and Roll Week, where children are encouraged to use human-powered transportation to school for one week (think bikes, scooters, skateboards, walking, etc.).

To keep the fun level up, Heatherwood had different theme days throughout the week and Wednesday’s theme was “Pedal for a Cause.” This year the “cause” was a food drive for Community Food Share, which serves Boulder and Broomfield counties. Students were asked to bring a can of food in their backpacks to donate as they rode to school on Wednesday morning.


To keep the human-powered transportation theme going, all of the donated food was then loaded into a couple of Burley trailers and two Heatherwood moms rode the donation to Community Food Share’s warehouse in Niwot. Fortunately, for these ladies, the nearly 5-mile bike ride was mostly downhill. Once at Community Food Share, the food was unloaded into shopping carts and weighed. These moms were both happy and a little shocked to learn that they had just hauled 260 pounds of food by bike and admitted they were probably a tad over the maximum recommended capacity for their trailers, yet all the food, bikes, burleys and moms arrived intact.

Read more in 303cycling.com.


About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.