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This week's healthy schools highlights

Cooking up change in Denver

In just a few weeks, teams of aspiring chefs from high schools in Chicago, Denver, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Washington, DC and Winston-Salem will compete in the national finals of the Healthy Schools Campaign’s Cooking up Change healthy cooking contest in Washington, D.C. The students, who have all won their city’s local qualifying contest, will present healthy school lunches that meet high nutrition standards and many of the constraints faced in school food service.

Read more at the Healthy Schools Campaign.

LiveWell Colorado campaign targets obesity

Maren Stewart
, president and CEO
 of LiveWell Colorado, explains the newest campaign to fight obesity in Colorado – one that will have everyone looking in the mirror.

Most Colorado residents are quick to admit Colorado has an obesity problem, they just don’t recognize that problem as their own. In fact, according to the results of LiveWell Colorado’s statewide survey of 1,100 adults and focus groups of more than 100 mothers, many Coloradans have a difficult time accurately identifying overweight or obesity. Instead, they often associate the issue with images of the morbidly obese, as seen on TV shows like “The Biggest Loser.” To address these misperceptions, LiveWell Colorado is launching an unprecedented statewide advertising and community engagement campaign at the end of this month.

LiveWell Colorado’s “culture change” campaign includes Colorado’s – and the country’s – first ads that aim to de-stigmatize obesity, presenting the surprising commonness of the problem. The ads, which will first appear on the final Oprah Winfrey show on May 25, illustrate that overweight and obesity look like every day Coloradans—55 percent of Colorado adults are overweight or obese—and emphasize the issue is not about vanity or labeling, but long-term health. The ad’s call to action encourages viewers to visit the website to find out if they are at risk for an obesity-related disease and guides them to small steps they can take in order to live a healthier life.

LiveWell Colorado will support the ads with community engagement activities, primarily focused on Colorado mothers, as research shows mothers are the most likely to agree that they, as parents, are responsible for solving the obesity problem in Colorado.

Community activities will include: free cooking classes on how to eat healthy on a limited budget; a “gym-a-bago” that travels to events and neighborhood venues to demonstrate simple, free ways to get the family moving; healthy cooking demonstrations at schools and community gathering places; events that bring communities together to be active and “promotores” programs (health outreach workers) working within the Hispanic community to hold culturally competent classes on healthy eating and physical activity. To expand the reach of these activities, videos will be shared through social media and the LiveWell Colorado website.

Summer meals at school in Commerce City

Adams County School District 14 (Adams 14) is participating in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, which fills nutritional gaps throughout the summer months to ensure children get the nutritious meals they need.

Nutritious meals will be provided Monday through Friday at no charge to all children ages one to 18, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Additionally, adults living in the district can purchase breakfast for $1.50 and lunch for $2.50 throughout the Summer Food Service Program.

Anyone can participate. See the list of times and location. For more information, contact Cindy Veney, manager of nutrition services, at 303-853-7950 or via e-mail

Mapleton nurse honored as School Nurse of the Year

The Colorado Association of School Nurses selected Kelly Grenham as the 2011 School Nurse of the Year. This award is reserved for a candidate who demonstrates excellence in school nursing practice and leadership in school health. Grenham has been a nurse consultant in Mapleton Public Schools since 2004 through a partnership with The Children’s Hospital.

“Kelly is an aggressive advocate of student health,” Jana Jones, school nurse consultant for Mapleton Public Schools wrote in Grenham’s nomination letter. “She understands the nuances of how a child’s health condition translates to the school arena and who needs to be involved in shaping a successful school experience. Kelly has successfully obtained her National Certification for School Nurses and is a terrific representative of what the certification stands for.”

The award will be officially presented on Friday, Nov. 4, at the CASN Fall Conference Annual Awards Banquet in Breckenridge.

A hero for healthy schools: Rainey Wikstrom

Last month, the Healthy Schools Campaign teamed up with Chicago Public Schools and the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to present Heroes for Healthy Schools, a series to focus attention on the role everyone can play in ensuring that all children are able to succeed in school and live healthy lives. Readers across the country nominate people they saw making a difference for kids’ health at school and in the community.

Congrats to Coloradan Rainey Wikstrom, a wellness champion. Read more at the Healthy Schools Campaign. Read this story about Wikstrom in EdNews Parent.

Heritage Elem.: Fit 4 Colorado School Challenge winner

HIGHLANDS RANCH – The students at Heritage Elementary School in Highlands Ranch are celebrating. They were awarded the Fit 4 Colorado School Challenge for May on Thursday. Watch the CBS4 report.

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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