Release No. 0530.10
Jean Daniel (703) 305-2281
USDA Official Visits Minnesota to Highlight Efforts to Improve Child Nutrition During National School Lunch Week
Local Schools Receive National Recognition Award
ADRIAN, Minn., Oct. 15, 2010 – Julie Mikkelson, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Midwest Regional Director for Special Nutrition Programs today closed out National School Lunch Week by Adrian Elementary students, staff and food service officials Silver in USDA's
HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). The school now joins the ranks of an elite group recognized nationally for health, nutrition and fitness excellence. Rowe also discussed the Obama administration's priorities for enhancing school meals and the health of the nation's children.
"Improving the nutrition and health of America's children is a key priority for the Obama administration and all of us at USDA," said Mikkelson. "It was such a pleasure meeting everyone at Adrian Elementary who are truly committed 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.
During her visit, Mikkelson highlighted the opportunities for improving the
National School Lunch and
School Breakfast programs through the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
"Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act will allow us to strengthen our school meal programs both today and in the future," said Mikkelson. "These changes are a long-term investment in our children and their ability to succeed in school and in the future."
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. For more information, please visit
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.