Former President Clinton honored 250 schools that received National Healthy Schools Awards at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Leaders Summit in September. The schools were recognized for exceeding federal nutrition standards for breakfast and lunch by the Alliance, which was established to empower kids to develop lifelong healthy habits.
Clinton also shared data showing how the Alliance paved the way for healthier school meals through a series of agreements brokered with leading school food manufacturers in 2011, prior to federal nutrition standards taking effect. According to preliminary results from a multi-year evaluation, the sale of “Alliance- compliant” healthier school meal products by these leading manufactures—those products with whole grains, lean protein, and zero trans-fat cooking oils; non-fried vegetables; fresh/frozen/canned fruit; and low-fat lunch entrées with reduced total fat, saturated fat, and sodium levels—increased 71 percent between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 school years.
“This data suggests that unhealthy food choices are being replaced by healthy food choices for millions of students across the country,” said Clinton, who is co-founder of the Alliance. “The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s work with schools and food companies proves that with planning and support, manufacturers can make and sell healthier foods, schools will offer it, and kids will eat it.”
The recognized schools are taking advantage of the healthier choices and are leading by example. All of them...
• Meet or exceed updated federal nutrition standards for school breakfast and lunch, which include increased fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich items and meals lower in saturated fat;
• Offer school breakfast to their students every day;
• Met the beverage requirements for the federal Smart Snacks in School standards ahead of the July 1, 2014 requirement;
• Implement district wellness policies and report progress annually, ahead of the proposed rule;
• Provide students with at least 60 minutes of physical education per week and ensure activity throughout the school day.
The 250 recognized schools, 64% of which are high need (40% or more of the student population is eligible for free and reduced price lunches), come from 30 states. For a list of the 250 awardees, please see the Alliance’s website.