The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is launching a new and improved school lunch menu to support the "I'm In" healthy eating marketing campaign the district announced in July. LAUSD, which serves more than 650,000 meals daily, is currently expanding its healthy and nutritional policies through a portion of a recent $15.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, administered through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Renew LA County initiative.
"Providing healthy food and beverage options at school meals, along with education on healthy eating and active living, have the potential to improve the health of students, reduce rates of childhood and adolescent obesity, and improve academic performance," says Dr. Paul Simon, MD, MPH, director of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "These benefits are likely to be long lasting as healthy behaviors adopted in childhood often continue into adulthood, resulting in decreased risk of chronic diseases and the costs associated with these preventable diseases."
The new LAUSD menu meets and exceeds the USDA's school lunch guidelines and the Institute of Medicine's nutrient recommendations, which include calorie limits, increased fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and limiting sodium in school meals.
"I'm In" is designed to connect with students, parents, community groups, administrators, teachers and other Los Angeles-based organizations by asking them to get involved and help support the movement. The five-year program will include celebrity-sponsored student and community activities, public service announcements, food tasting events, social media, and traditional advertising in billboards, radio and print publications.