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SNA Press Releases

EnergyNow! Announces Grants to Combat Childhood Overweight

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EnergyNow! Announces Grants to Combat Childhood Overweight

October 18, 2007 -- EnergyNow!, an alliance comprised of leading authorities in the physical education, nutrition and fitness technology fields, today announced the availability of physical education grants to help schools in the tri-state New York area combat childhood obesity through a results-based program.

In an effort to energize and motivate children to participate in regular physical activity and healthy eating habits, EnergyNow! will build physical education and nutrition education programs that are doable, sustainable and effective. This results-based program will allow physical educators to collect valid and reliable data to monitor student progress and their program''s effectiveness throughout the year. The program''s resources will also serve as the foundation for students to lead active and healthier lifestyles by providing physical activity and nutrition education lessons that can be applied to their everyday lives.

"The EnergyNow! alliance recognizes that increasing students'' physical activity level is critical to effectively address childhood obesity," said Charlene Burgeson, alliance chair, EnergyNow!. "The grants will provide physical education teachers with training along with the needed resources to monitor student progress and track results throughout the year."

The grants will provide critical funding for schools to purchase physical education equipment based on their specific needs and schools will receive heart rate monitors, assessment technology and training provided by Polar, a manufacturer of fitness products. Additionally, the School Nutrition Foundation will provide a set of nutrition education lessons that include a lifestyle approach to eating habits based on actual cafeteria choices and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education will give training on the National Standards for Physical Education. Information packets will also be distributed to grant recipients that include additional resources and details about various activities, contests and promotions available through EnergyNow!.

 An estimated 17 percent of children and adolescents from ages 2-19 years are overweight according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has declared childhood obesity a national epidemic. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that almost one in four children do not participate in any free-time physical activity.

"We know that when students are personally engaged, positive change can take place," said Burgeson. "This program focuses on results and aims to engage students by energizing and motivating them to get physically active and eat healthy."

In the first year, public middle schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be eligible to apply for the grants which are valued at more than $12,000 each. The pilot program will award 10 grants. Eligibility requirements include state certification requirements for physical education teachers, a standards-based curriculum in place and an agreement to participate in various grant activities and professional development trainings throughout the grant period, among others.

The program’s evaluation committee will review and score each grant submission and the winning schools will be announced in December 2007. The deadline to apply for the grant is November 12, 2007. For a detailed list of eligibility requirements or to apply for the EnergyNow! grant visit www.energynow.com.

The EnergyNow! alliance includes the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the preeminent national authority on physical education and a recognized leader in sport and physical activity; the School Nutrition Foundation, which supports professional development and outreach programs for their sister organization, the national, non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA); and Polar, the leading manufacturer of heart rate monitors and fitness assessment technology that has a 10-year history of providing high-tech tools to schools across the country.

About EnergyNow!
EnergyNow! is a results-based grant program that will enable schools to combat the alarming trend towards obesity in children with an emphasis on building physical education and nutrition education programs that are doable, sustainable and effective.

The EnergyNow! alliance includes the National Association of Physical Sport and Education, the School Nutrition Foundation and Polar. For more information on the program or available grants through EnergyNow! visit, www.energynow.com

 

Despite Funding Challenges, School Programs Increase Nutritious Options

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Erik Peterson
703-739-3900 ext. 124

Despite Funding Challenges, School Programs Increase Nutritious Options

School Nutrition Association 2007 Trends Report finds districts offering more whole grains, healthier beverages and more fresh fruits and vegetables

ALEXANDRIA Va. (October 16, 2007)  Parents visiting their child’s school cafeteria during National School Lunch Week are seeing more whole grains, a greater amount of fresh fruits and vegetables and a wider selection of healthful beverages.  The School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 2007 Trends Report, released today, found that increased availability of whole grain products is the most commonly reported policy/effort in place and that more school districts are implementing food and nutrition policies, even as the costs to do so increase -- 85% of respondents report experiencing increased food, labor, gas and transportation costs.

Released annually, the Trends Report is based on a survey of 200 school districts nationwide conducted in July 2007. The Report provides evidence of the continuing efforts underway in America's schools to promote healthy eating habits among children. Other policies in place among a majority of districts include increasing the availability of healthier beverages in vending machines (81%), reducing/limiting trans fat content (74%), limiting fat content of a la carte/vending items (73%) and increasing the availability of fresh fruits/vegetables on a la carte lines and/or vending machines (69%).  Policy deployment is increased for nearly every area from past years, including the percentage of districts with a policy that limits the fat content of a la carte and/or vending items rising to 73% from 38% in 2004.

The Report also describes new efforts taken by school nutrition programs for the current school year, including increased offerings (and a greater variety) of fruits, vegetables, whole grain products; a consistent and continual emphasis on wellness as schools move forward with the implementation of their wellness policies; limiting portion/serving sizes; developing and implementing nutrition education programs for students, teachers and staff; and using alternative preparation techniques, such as elimination of deep-frying.

While the record of school nutrition professionals demonstrates significant progress toward promoting a healthy childhood weight, the financial implications for self-sustaining school nutrition programs remains a concern. The Report found costs for food, labor and gas/transportation are clearly affecting school foodservice operations — about 85% of the respondents report that their program experienced increases in these costs last school year.  Most districts (63.5%) state that the National School Lunch Program reimbursement was not sufficient for their district to cover the costs of producing a meal. The Report makes clear that additional funding is needed from the local, state or federal level for school nutrition programs to offer more nutrient-dense meals.

The Trends Report release comes during National School Lunch Week, which was established in 1963 by a proclamation by President John F. Kennedy.  It is designed to help raise awareness of and garner support for the role that school foodservice and nutrition programs play in the lives of America’s children. 

SNA, the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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Biff Burger, Jesse Wrap are Front-runners in School Lunch Vote

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Erik Peterson 703-739-3900
epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Biff Burger, Jesse Wrap are Front-runners in School Lunch Vote
Students vote for their favorite healthy school lunch during National School Lunch Week, October 15 - 19, 2007

ALEXANDRIA Va. (October 11, 2007) At town hall meetings, in school cafeterias and on the blogs, the talk is of flavor and favorites. In a tightly contested race, the polls put Biff Burger and Jesse Wrap ahead of a pack of school lunch contenders including Pippa Potato, Patty Mac n’ Cheese and Yumi Rice Bowl in the 2007 Vote for School Lunch Campaign. Since July, the five candidates have been wooing students from Iowa to Florida with whole grain goodness and low-fat cheesiness all in anticipation of the election, held October 15 – 19, 2007 during National School Lunch Week. The second annual Vote for School Lunch campaign concludes October 22, 2007, when the School Nutrition Association will announce the wining 'candidate.'

Students nationwide are invited to cast their ballots online at www.VoteForSchoolLunch.org and in school cafeterias up until Friday, October 19, 2007. Those who ‘Vote for School Lunch’ will also learn more about healthy meal choices at school. This year’s candidates include Jesse Wrap with lean turkey and a whole-grain tortilla; Pippa Potato baked and served with veggies; Patty Mac ‘n’ Cheese with whole-grain noodles, low-fat cheese and broccoli; Biff Burger with a lean patty and a whole-wheat bun; and Yumi Rice Bowl with brown rice and vegetables.

The candidates are campaigning on their platform of sound dietary values, great taste and lunchroom versatility and the 2007 winner will go on to compete in the 2008 Presidential election against Pete Pizza – the 2006 and first-ever ‘Vote For School Lunch’ campaign winner – as well as three student-designed ‘Design a Candidate’ contest winners.

In addition to the national vote, the campaign includes

  • Design a Candidate contest: This allows students to draw, sketch or design new candidates. Up to three winners from each school can be submitted to a national panel to be judged and three national winners will be professionally re-created to run in the 2008 ‘Vote’ campaign.
  • Election days: During National School Lunch Week participating schools set up voting booths and hold candidate debates.
  • Costume contests: Students and staff create costumes and dress up as their favorite character.
  • Election feasts and assemblies: Schools from Pharr-San Juan ISD, Texas to Carlisle, Penn., invite the community in for a healthy lunch and a civics lesson.

SNA’s nationwide membership of 53,000+ school nutrition professionals work in schools and in communities to provide balanced, nutritious school meals and information on proper portion sizes and nutrition education for children.

Within the federally funded National School Lunch Program:

  • Nationwide, 95% of schools participate and 30 million children are served daily.
  • Dietary guidelines dictate no more than 30% of calories can come from fat and less than 10% from saturated fat.
  • Over the course of one week, lunches must provide one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium and calories.
  • Well-balanced school lunches include protein, fruits and vegetables, grains and low-fat milk and are served in age-appropriate portions.

National School Lunch Week, which was established in 1963 by a proclamation by President John F. Kennedy. It is designed to help raise awareness of and garner support for the role that school foodservice and nutrition programs play in the lives of America’s children. The School Nutrition Association celebrates the event each year with a theme and promotional materials. Land O’ Lakes School Foodservice, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the Cartoon Network’s Get Animated campaign provided support for this year’s campaign.

Signed into law by President Harry Truman, the National School Lunch Program provides nutritionally balanced low-cost and free meals to students. Today, healthful options are available in schools nationwide. According to SNA's The State of School Nutrition 2007 Report, out of 1,200 school districts surveyed a majority of schools offer fat-free or low-fat milk (97%), fresh fruits and vegetables (96%), salad bars or pre-packaged salads (88%), yogurt and yogurt drinks (81%), from-scratch baked items (63%) and vegetarian meals (52%).

SNA, the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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