Release No. 0528.10
Jean Daniel (703) 305-2281
USDA Official Visits Maine to Highlight Efforts to Improve Child Nutrition During National School Lunch Week
Local Schools Receive National Recognition Award
TURNER, Maine, Oct. 15, 2010 – Cindy Long, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Child Nutrition Director today closed out National School Lunch Week by presenting Greene Central, Leeds Central, Turner Primary and Turner Elementary school students, staff and school officials Silver awards in USDA's
HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). These schools now join the ranks of an elite group recognized nationally for health, nutrition and fitness excellence. Long also discussed the Obama administration's priorities for enhancing school meals and the health of the Nation's children.
"It is important to recognize schools that are doing an excellent job improving the health of their school environments," said Long. "Providing children access to nutritious foods can increase their ability to do well in school and develop healthful habits that will last a lifetime."
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.
During her visit to the schools, Long highlighted the opportunities for improving the
National School Lunch and
School Breakfast programs through the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
"USDA's child nutrition programs provide vital nutrition to America's children and deserve our full support," Long said. "By reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act we will be investing in our children's health and making improvements to our school meal programs that will benefit our kids for years to come."
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.