By Tom Oster
Department of Education
Need a new challenge?
Get your school on track to
proper nutrition, physical activity
Earlier this year, First Lady Michelle Obama launched a national campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. The South Dakota School Height & Weight Report for 2008-09 shows that more than 33 percent of students in our state are overweight or obese.
We all know that poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity are associated with lower student achievement and increased risks of health concerns such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease.
Now is the time to take concrete steps toward addressing childhood obesity. One way to do that is by taking the HealthierUS School Challenge. Both Custer and Huron already have taken the challenge and won.
Established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the HealthierUS School Challenge recognizes schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity. The award requires the combined efforts of your schoolís food service team, classroom teachers, school nurse, physical education teacher and parents in helping students learn to make healthier eating and lifestyle choices.
Schools that meet the criteria receive a monetary award -- $500 for Bronze, $1,000 for Silver, $1,500 for Gold, and $2,000 for the Gold Award of Distinction. They also receive a certificate of recognition, plaque and banner to hang in their school.
I encourage all schools to take a leadership role in helping students learn to make healthy choices that will last a lifetime.
For more information about this great program, click here. The South Dakota Department of Educationís Child and Adult Nutrition Services can provide technical assistance. Give the CANS staff a call at (605) 773-3413.