In the months since the Wellness Impact Report was released, we have been even more keenly aware of some of the exciting, creative things school nutrition professionals are doing to help the students in their schools make “the learning connection.” The learning connection is a central tenet of the report, which posits that healthy school environments enhance learning through a combination of good nutrition and physical activity programs.
If you haven’t yet reviewed the Wellness Impact Report, we encourage you to do so. It contains a powerful, comprehensive argument for the important role schools play in childhood wellness, with a particular focus on school breakfast and physical activity programs. The report is a joint effort of the National Dairy Council, GENYOUth Foundation, American College of Sports Medicine, and American School Health Association and is available for review online.
There are great examples of these programs popping up all the time, and since we are celebrating National School Lunch Week, what better time to share some of our favorite school nutrition headlines?
Creating a Culture of Wellness
The Wellness Impact Report encourages schools to use nutrition programs (like school breakfast) and physical activity to create a total “culture of wellness” for students. This is “the learning connection” on which the report is focused: healthy kids are ready to learn, and more likely to find success in the classroom.
In this article titled “School Environments Key to Happy Kids, Adults,” the Valley Star (TX) reports on the CATCH program at the University of Texas School of Public Health. CATCH stands for ‘Coordinated Approach to Child Health,” and looks to “transform a child’s environment, culture, and society by coordinating child health efforts across all aspects of the educational experience.” If you are running school health initiatives, but are looking for help articulating an overall wellness message for your school, this article—and the resources on the CATCH website—will be of particular interest to you.
Grants and Contests
Grant opportunities are out there, designed to help you fund your school wellness programs. Have you applied for the GENYOUth Foundation’s AdVenture Capital Grant, or Fuel Up to Play 60 Funds? The fall deadlines to apply are October 22 and November 1, respectively, so there is still time to complete your application.
Kids can win a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII by entering the NFL’s Play 60 Super Bowl Contest before the November 25, 2013. If you are a Fuel Up to Play 60 school, don’t forget to let students know about this contest.
Taste Test Success
We heard it time and again at ANC in Kansas City—when the kids like the food, they eat the food! Participation benefits, and it’s a great opportunity for staff—including administration—to interact with the kids. Advisory panels that include students, school nutrition staff, principals, teachers, custodians, and parent representatives are becoming increasingly popular. The Highland Rim School (Tenn.) recently held a lunch for the principal and students, where they were able to critique new recipes that use fresh chicken and local produce.
Is your school creating a comprehensive “culture of wellness” to help students make the learning connection? Share your story with us in comments, or on Facebook!