Release No. 0519.10
Jean Daniel (703)305-2281
USDA Official Visits North Dakota to Highlight Efforts to Improve Child Nutrition During National School Lunch Week
Local School Receives National Recognition Award
GRAND FORKS, N.D., Oct. 13, 2010 - Lisa Pino, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Administrator for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program today celebrated National School Lunch Week at Phoenix Elementary School in Grand Forks, ND by commending them for achieving the State's first Gold of Distinction award, the highest level in the USDA's
HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). Pino also discussed the Obama administration's priorities for enhancing school meals and the health of the nation's children.
"This week we are reminded of the importance of providing our children access to nutritious meals so they are able to learn, thrive and grow," said Pino. "Through our HealthierUS School Challenge, USDA recognizes schools that meet the highest standards for creating and maintaining healthy school environments by promoting good nutrition and physical activity."
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. As of late September, 841 HUSSC awards have been made to schools. 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.
During her visit, Pino highlighted the opportunities for improving the
National School Lunch and
School Breakfast programs through the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
"USDA's programs provide vital nutrition assistance to America's school-aged children and deserve our full support," Pino said. "We are committed to ensuring that all of America's children have access to safe, nutritious, and balanced meals through our child nutrition programs."
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 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. For more information, please visit
Improving USDA's child nutrition programs on behalf of 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.