Release No. 0218.11
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
USDA Presents HealthierUS School Challenge Honors to 154 Dallas Schools for
Excellence in Nutrition and Fitness
DALLAS, May 25, 2011 -- USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and
Consumer Services, Janey Thornton today recognized 154 Dallas schools for their
efforts to expand nutrition and physical activity opportunities, the largest
group of honorees from one district to date. USDA and its partners, the National
Football League and the National Dairy Council, joined students, teachers,
foodservice professionals, and community leaders for the
HealthierUS School Challenge celebration. This is the largest number of
awards ever presented to a single school district and the state of Texas leads
the nation in the highest number of awards.
"HealthierUS Schools have taken an active role in combating childhood obesity
by incorporating healthier menus and introducing more physical activities during
the school day," said Thornton. "The strong foundation these schools have built
supports a clear path for our nation's young people to win the future."
The Challenge and Fuel Up to Play 60 are key components of First Lady
Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. Last
year, the First Lady and USDA called on stakeholders to double the number of
HUSSC schools within in a year and add 1,000 schools per year for two years
after that. As of May 9, 1,001 schools are certified, well on the way toward the
goal of 1,250 schools in this school year. Schools participating in the HUSSC
voluntarily adopt USDA standards for food they serve at their schools, agree to
offer nutrition education and to provide opportunities for physical activity.
Other Let's Move! child nutrition initiatives include
Fuel Up to Play 60, a customizable in-school program that empowers youth in
more than 70,000 schools to improve nutrition and physical activity at their
school and for their own health. It encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich
foods (including low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole
grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
USDA recently announced that it will be investing $5.5 million in grants with
approximately $2.5 million set aside to provide non-competitive grants (up to
$50,000) to each State Agency that commits to specific strategies to increase
the number of HealthierUS School Challenge applications submitted for approval.
Up to $350,000 may be requested to include both competitive and non-competitive
"First Lady Michelle Obama and USDA believe that schools can take a
leadership role in helping students learn to make healthier eating and active
lifestyle choices for better health," said Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Under
Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. "Today, we honor their
commitment and encourage other schools to emulate their efforts in fostering
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees 15 nutrition assistance programs
that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. The
programs work together to form a national safety net against hunger. The
National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs provide nutritionally
balanced, free and low-cost meals to nearly 32 million school children each
school day. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, puts healthy food in
reach for more than 44 million Americans each month, half of whom are children.