An exciting three-year study completed by Kaiser Permanente California has proven that a public-health approach in schools can improve child nutrition. By implementing healthy catering alternatives to classroom activities and school events, the school nutrition approach becomes more wholesome.
In this study, they replaced food and beverage rewards in the classrooms with non-food prizes and held healthy fundraising events complete with "prize walks," instead of the popular "cake walks." The results of this study are quite encouraging.
The researchers noted that schools actually made more money through healthy events such as jog-a-thons than carnivals with popcorn and pizza."
There was a 30 percent decrease in the amount of unhealthy foods and beverages consumed by students at these schools during the study, compared to a 26 percent increase at other schools.
The amount of healthy lunches students brought from home and other outside sources also increased at the intervention schools.
Learning ZoneXpress is encouraged by these results. How fantastic that these changes to school events impact how a parent packs his/her child's lunch? It just goes to show the influence we can have on each other and how far that influence stretches.
Schools across the country are making huge strides in child nutrition, and we support these efforts full force by providing supporting materials that reinforce the understanding of nutrition and encourage healthy choices. We've developed MyPlate nutrition resources to promote healthy choices in a way that is easy to understand, not only for children, but for parents and teachers as well.
Nothing is more important than our children being educated and properly nourished. By making small changes to events and activities our schools already host and participate in, we begin to build a support system of parents and teachers that will only push these initiatives along faster and more effectively.
Children are synonymous with the future, and we have the power to make it a bright one. By involving everyone, our messages become clearer, our strength multiplies, and the health of our future improves.
If you are involved in your school's nutrition program, please share examples of what you are currently doing. Share with others your ideas and initiatives, so that they too, can make a difference in their own community.