Release No. 0531.10
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
USDA to Present First HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award to Washington D.C. School
WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2010 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan presented the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award to River Terrace Elementary School in Washington, D.C. today. The River Terrace Elementary School is the first school in the District of Columbia to achieve Gold award status in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). The school's efforts have resulted in students consuming more fruits and vegetables at lunch, and increasing their physical activity. During her visit, Merrigan highlighted the opportunities for improving the
National School Lunch and
School Breakfast programs through the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
"This is a great day for our kids and a great day for the District as we honor the hard work that River Terrace Elementary has put into improving the health and nutrition of their students," said Merrigan. "The First Lady inspired River Terrace to meet the HealthierUS School Challenge and today they answered that challenge by making a commitment to serving the most nutritious foods to students, and making sure they have opportunities for physical activity for optimal health."
The HUSSC is a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama's
Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. Schools participating in the HUSSC voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to provide nutrition education, and provide opportunities for physical activity.
In February, the First Lady and USDA challenged stakeholders to double the number of HUSSC schools within in a year and add 1,000 schools per year for two years after that. Schools participating in the Challenge are recognized with Gold of Distinction, Gold, Silver, or Bronze-level certification. Currently, 841 schools out of the 101,000 eligible schools nationwide have achieved HealthierUS status. HUSSC certification also includes monetary incentives for schools -$2,000 for Gold Award of Distinction, $1,500 for Gold, $1,000 for Silver and $500 for Bronze.
The First Lady actively supports the HUSSC with innovative Let's Move initiatives, including Chefs Move to Schools, a collaboration that links chefs with nearby schools, and most recently with the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition, launched in early September. This competition brings together chefs, school nutrition professionals, students, and parents who work in teams to develop nutritious, delicious, kid-approved recipes for use in schools. Recipes must be submitted by Dec. 30. Winners will have a chance to compete in a national cook-off and $12,000 in prizes.
Improving USDA's child nutrition programs on behalf of nearly 32 million kids across the nation is a top priority of the Obama Administration. Strengthening the Child Nutrition Act, which authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign. This legislation will serve as a down payment in battling hunger and food insecurity while providing critical resources to raise a generation of healthy children. To learn more about the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, visit
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit
www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.