by Carmen Johnson, BCHC
President Obama has declared September National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, but as kids across America head back to school, there’s an ongoing controversy around school nutrition policies that may not be putting the health of our children at the forefront.
Despite increased awareness, education and intervention programs, childhood obesity in the United States has actually increased since 2000 from 14.5 to 17.3 percent of American kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In fact, the current rate of childhood obesity in America is three times higher than it was just a generation ago! As a result, today’s youth face an alarmingly high risk for such life-threatening conditions as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and cancer.
The First Lady’s Let’s Move! program is slowly getting lawmakers and regulators to realize that their policies, though well-meaning, lead to wasteful spending and often poor nutritional value in the food we serve our kids at school. Ironically, the children at greatest risk are those from low-income families who may be getting most or even all of their daily food intake from school meals.
As a mom who also happens to be a Certified Health Coach, I knew positive changes were happening in various schools across the country and I set off to find out how other schools were making positive, healthy changes. This is the beginning of a solution revolution, arming parents and educators with the know-how and resources to combat childhood obesity by sharing replicable models of success in The Healthy Schools Revolution, a virtual summit to be held online this October.
I’ve gathered 18 game-changing experts to share their exact steps for getting made-from-scratch meals on the lunch line, getting grass-fed beef added to their school’s menu, getting school gardens incorporated into the classroom and lunchroom, weaving physical activities into each class period and so much more.
Best of all, this solution-packed, resource-filled summit also includes an opportunity for schools and organizations to raise much-needed funds for implementing these great ideas. It’s a “Learn and Earn,” with half of each $10 registration fee going back directly to the participant’s school by Nov. 14 to help fund their own healthy-school initiatives.
From Oct. 6-31, summit participants will have exclusive online access to a series of video interviews where these difference-makers will share easy, inexpensive ways to provide better nutrition, more activity and a brighter future for America’s school kids. Experts and topics will include:
- David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, will share free ABC (Activity Burst in the Classroom) Fitness Program that shows teachers how to incorporate physical activity into each class period, allowing students to release excess energy and attain better focus.
- Noted chef, author and activist Ann Cooper, known as “The Renegade Lunch Lady,” will share how she navigated school policies and government regulations to incorporate grass-fed beef and other wholesome foods into her Colorado schools’ menu.
- Educator Stephen Ritz , will show how to gets kids excited about fruits and vegetables by starting a school garden, where they grow their own food for the school cafeteria. Ritz has helped students in the Bronx grow more than 30,000 pounds of vegetables while substantially improving their academic performance and helping them earn a living wage and learn valuable life skills along the way.
- American Fitness Index chair Walt Thompson describing how the After-School All-Stars nationwide program is getting Atlanta teens motivated to stay active and healthy.
- Fiesty and powerful health and wellness pioneer Kathie Dolgin, aka High Voltage, who will share how she motivates inner-city teen girls to kick the sugar habit in her catchy program called Energy Up!
I’m urging all Nutri-Savvy readers to join the summit by clicking here. And if your school wants to become a Healthy Schools Revolution fund-raising partner, earning $5 to $23.50 for every participant they get to sign up, go to http://thehealthyschoolsrevolution.com/healthy-schools-affiliate-program/.
From the time they’re babies until they leave the nest, our kids depend on us for healthy nutrition. I hope you’ll join me in this solution revolution to put the focus back on feeding America’s schoolchildren in the healthiest fashion possible. Fresh foods, sunshine and plenty of physical activities each day can change the course of history for your children.
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