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LA Area Schools Honored by President Clinton

President Bill Clinton recognizes local healthy schools for creating healthy environments for students and staff

By Veronica Potes
Published on LatinoLA: August 11, 2009


LA Area Schools Honored by President Clinton


President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, joined Dr. Clyde Yancy, president of the American Heart Association and Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), to recognize schools around the nation at the Fourth Annual Healthy Schools Program Forum in New York on Thursday, August 6, 2009. Six Los Angeles schools were among the 114 honorees from across the nation transforming their schools into healthier places for students to learn and staff to work.

"As kids head back to school this fall, it is important to remember that healthy students are more likely to attend class, concentrate on their schoolwork, and perform better academically," President Clinton said. "I am pleased to recognize 114 outstanding schools that have succeeded in building healthy learning environments for students and staff. To date, the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program has helped give more than three million kids increased opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating, and we look forward to reaching even more in the year ahead."

Six schools in the local community were presented with an award by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. These schools include:

Ella P. Melbourne Elementary School Lakewood
Fremont Elementary School Alhambra
Durfee School El Monte
Rio Hondo School Arcadia
Ces?r Chavez Middle School Lynwood
Ramona Elementary School Alhambra

Ces?r Chavez Middle School in Lynwood, Calif., a recipient of a Healthy Schools Program National Recognition Award, transformed the food offerings in the school so that all food items offered now derive 30 percent or less of their calories from fat, and 100 percent of foods are trans-fat free. Fresh fruits are now served regularly, and a salad bar has been installed in the school to improve access to fresh vegetables.

Nearly one in three children and teens in the United States is obese or overweight. The figures are of particular consequence among Latino children, who have been cited as having the highest rates of obesity and who represent the largest, youngest, and fastest-growing minority group in the country. In response to the national epidemic, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation a joint partnership of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation established the Healthy Schools Program in 2006 to help schools develop and implement policies and practices to promote healthy eating and increase physical activity. The Healthy Schools Program is supported by funding from RWJF, which has committed $28 million to the program.

"I don't think there's a school in the nation that doesn't want to be a healthy school," said Lavizzo-Mourey. "But schools face budget challenges and competing priorities, and they sometimes don't know where or how to start. The Healthy Schools Program can help any school in the nation--even those with the fewest resources--take positive steps toward becoming healthier places for students and staff."

The Healthy Schools Program takes a comprehensive approach to helping schools create healthier environments by working with them to improve access to healthier foods; increase physical activity opportunities before, during and after school; enhance nutrition education; and establish school employee wellness programs. Support is tailored so that every school creates its own local approach that matches the specific needs of its community.

The program provides free support to more than 5,000 schools in all 50 states as they work to create healthy school environments that promote physical activity and healthy eating for more than three million students.

Anyone can make a difference in the health of a school by joining the Healthy Schools Program. To find out more, visit HealthierGeneration.org for free tools, tips, resources and updates on ways to help make our children's generation a healthier generation.

The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation's leading public health threats childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child's health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor's offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

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