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This week's healthy schools highlights

Hungry for local in Dolores schools

Fresh and local is the new trend at the cafeteria in Dolores schools.

Dolores School District Food Service Director Chuck Soukup told school board members recently that his new focus is fresh, local and handmade. Read all about it in the Cortez Journal.

Reading, writing and recipes: cooking in the classroom at P.S. 3

With about one in three children in the United States overweight or obese, more schools are looking for ways to teach healthy eating choices. To that end, a group of parents and chefs at Public School 3 in the West Village added cooking to the curriculum in the form of twice a month classes based around the five tastes: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami. The pilot program is called the Cooking Room and is run entirely by volunteers. Read more in the New York Times.

School transforms teens’ lives, one pound at a time

First of two stories, which are part of an ongoing series on obesity in America. The first part begins in August as students start their weight-loss journey at Wellspring Academy, a boarding school in Brevard, N.C. The second checks in with the students a few months later.

The gravel road announces families’ arrival at Wellspring before they actually get there. As cars begin to pull up the breathtakingly narrow, windy roads that lead to school, the thrumming of cicadas is temporarily eclipsed by the crunch of tires on gravel, then the slam of car doors. Check out this NPR report.

Exploring a better school lunch for Summit County kids

A new Summit County group is hoping to improve education about what a healthy school lunch is and, someday, maybe even improve the offerings on students’ plates.

While the School Lunch Task Force has only met a few times and is still in the process of finalizing its goals, it does have some insight into the logistics of buying supplies and creating a school lunch. The director of food services for Summit School District, Joel Hauswirth, is a member. Read more in the Summit Daily.

Exercise info, not calorie counts, helps teens drop sodas

Sugary drinks like soda are a big cause of obesity, but public health types haven’t had much luck convincing the public of that.

But what if you knew that it would take 50 minutes of jogging to burn off one soda?

When researchers taped signs saying just that on the drink coolers in four inner-city neighborhood stores, sales of sugary beverages to teenagers dropped by 50 percent. That tactic was more effective than a sign saying that the drinks had 250 calories each, or a sign saying that a soft drink accounts for 11 percent of recommended daily calories. Check out this NPR report.

A little reward might get kids to eat veggies

(Reuters Health) – If your preschooler turns her nose up at vegetables, giving her a small reward for taking even a taste might help, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that when parents gave their 3- and 4-year-olds a sticker each time they took a “tiny taste” of a disliked vegetable, it gradually changed the preschoolers’ attitude. Read more in Reuters.

Biggest childhood obesity declines seen in New York City schools

Some encouraging news on the childhood obesity front: Obesity levels among kindergartners through eighth-graders in New York City have gone down, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The decline, says the report, is to date the largest drop on record in a large U.S. city in this population, and it may be due to a comprehensive intervention that included the tried-and-true recipe of better food and more physical activity. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

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.

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