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Local Schools Honored by the Alliance For A Healthier Generation

Los Angeles Schools Among those Recognized for Increasing Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

By Veronica Potes
Published on LatinoLA: June 17, 2010


Local Schools Honored by the Alliance For A Healthier Generation


The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, has recognized 179 schools from across the country for transforming their campuses into healthier places for students and staff. President Bill Clinton, American Heart Association Chairman Neil Meltzer, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey presented awards during an event in New York City.

Among the honorees, 18 schools were chosen in the Los Angeles area as recipients of this national recognition. These schools include:

Ramona Elementary School Alhambra
Fremont Elementary School Alhambra
Burbank Elementary School Burbank
John F. Kennedy Elementary Artesia
Niemes Elementary Artesia
Rio Vista Elementary School El Monte
Cortada Elementary School El Monte
Le Gore Elementary School El Monte
Shirpser Elementary School El Monte
Cherrylee Elementary School El Monte
New Lexington Elementary School - El Monte
Wilkerson Elementary School El Monte
Aloha Elementary School Lakewood
Lucille J. Smith Elementary School Lawndale
Mark Twain Elementary School Lawndale
Monterey Highlands Elementary School Monterey Park
Repetto Elementary School Monterey Park
Ynez Elementary School Monterey Park

In its efforts to become a healthier school community, Ynez Elementary School increased the opportunities for physical activity while also decreasing the amount of unhealthy foods available on campus. Upper-grade students participate in an extra 35 minutes of physical education per week during recess and all students participate in the JAMmin' Minutes program of in-class physical activity routines. To demonstrate their support of the national "Let's Move" campaign to prevent childhood obesity, students wrote letters to First Lady Michelle Obama about their experiences with healthy eating and physical activity as stewards of the Healthy Schools Program.

This year marked the debut of a nutritional advisory council (NAC) composed of students who promote physical activity and healthy choices among their peers. Next year, the NAC will expand on its role by sponsoring healthy eating and physical activity events during recess. All PTA fundraisers have switched to selling only healthy or non-food items, and the school store sells only healthy snacks. Cafeteria lunches now include a salad-of-the-day that is available to staff as well as students. The school acknowledges the important role parents play in healthy eating by providing nutrition education classes through the school district's participation in the Network for a Healthy California.

The Alliance's Healthy Schools Program provides free assistance to more than 9,000 schools nationwide to help them reverse the national epidemic of childhood obesity. Schools are eligible for Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum National Recognition Awards as a result of implementing health-promoting programs. More than 350 National Recognition Awards have been presented to schools since 2006.

"It is clear that the momentum is building. In the past year, we have seen the Healthy Schools Program grow from 5,000 schools to more than 9,000," said Ginny Ehrlich, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "We hope that every person interested in making a difference in the health of a school will join our Healthy Schools Network and become eligible to be nationally recognized for their efforts in future years."

Many of the 179 schools recognized this year have diverse student populations, and more than two-thirds are located in lower-income communities. Each has distinguished itself with healthy eating and physical activity programs and policies that meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program.

"Although the Healthy Schools Program aims to make all schools healthy, it has a special focus on communities most affected by the childhood obesity epidemic," Lavizzo-Mourey said. "The schools celebrated this year show how much can be done from the cafeteria to the playground. Tough budget times and other challenges are no match for the commitment and creativity of administrators, teachers, parents and students."

Earlier this year, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation became a Founding Member of the Partnership for a Healthier America, the independent, nonpartisan organization created to support the goals of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign.

The Healthy Schools Program is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Any U.S. school can enroll and receive free assistance and support to become a healthier place for students to learn and staff to work. Find out more at HealthierGeneration.org.

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