Schools Foster Healthy Environments through USDA's Healthier US Schools Challenge

National program provides cash rewards and needed training to schools promoting nutrition and physical activity
[title]

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) and Discovery Education today announced the three winners of their HealthierUS Schools Challenge Sweepstakes. Oak Grove Lower School of Hattiesburg, Miss., won grand prize and will receive $10,000 to advance their school's physical education and food service programs.  Second prize of $1,000 went to Atchison County Community Elementary School in Effingham, Kan., to be used toward the purchase of new gym and field equipment.  15th Street Elementary of San Pedro, Calif., was selected as the third place winner and will receive a professional development workshop from the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI).

The HealthierUS Schools Challenge is a voluntary initiative established in 2004 by the USDA.  The program recognizes schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that are creating healthy school environments through the promotion of nutrition and physical activity. HWCF, in partnership with Discovery Education, recognized the value of this challenge and launched an incentive program for schools who had qualified for a USDA Gold, Bronze or Silver award. The sweepstakes received 18,707 entries, and one school was chosen from each level of distinction.

"It is imperative the students learn about active, healthy living at school," says HWCF President Lisa Gable.  "We are committed to supporting programs such as these that encourage teachers and administrators to focus on the importance of nutrition education and physical activity in schools."

"We are so grateful for the support of HWCF in promoting the HealthierUS Schools Challenge," says Deputy Under SecretaryJaney Thompson of the USDA. "As more schools get involved, more students will be given the education they deserve."

"Discovery Education is proud to partner with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to help students to explore their curiosity in a variety of curricular areas and gather the knowledge they need to lead healthy lifestyles," said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president. "The HealthierUS Schools Challenge gives schools the resources they need to teach students important lessons that extend beyond the classroom."

Dr. Katie Wilson, the Executive Director the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI), the organization that supports education and training for schools competing for the HealthierUS Schools Challenge, added, "HWCF's incentive programs are having a direct impact in the lives of students and provide much needed support as schools are seeking to improve their physical education and food service programs."

To view the full release, click here.