October 10-14 is National School Lunch Week
Students across King County are eating healthier this year, thanks to the work of five local school districts to improve school nutrition. From making it easier for kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to improving nutrition education, the Auburn, Highline, Kent, Renton and Seattle school districts are working to make healthy choices easier for students, while fighting childhood obesity.
School districts are working to make school meals healthier by serving more fruits and vegetables, providing nutrition education, increasing whole grains, reducing sodium levels, making free water available during school meals, and providing only low-fat or nonfat milk. Projects to improve school nutrition in King County also include:
- Students in the Kent School District are eating more locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to a new farm-to-school model program that connects the school district to local farmers.
- The “Serving Healthy Choices” campaign in the Highline School District makes it easier for students to choose healthy foods by marking healthy menu items with a new icon in middle- and high-school cafeterias.
- More than 4,000 students and staff in the Auburn School District have signed on to the “Commit to Fit” campaign, a student-led effort to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.
- New digital menu boards in the Renton School District will note healthy choices with a student-designed icon.
- The “Harvest of the Month” program in the Seattle Public Schools features locally grown produce, whole grains and dairy products once a month in cafeterias in 35 schools across the district, along with educational materials focused on local foods.
About one in five school-age children in King County are overweight or obese, increasing their of risk serious health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Since 1980, the rate of overweight children nationwide has doubled, and the rate of overweight teens has tripled.
In an effort to combat this trend, Public Health – Seattle & King County funded five school districts to improve nutrition standards as part of Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a federally-funded campaign to fight obesity and tobacco use, two of the leading causes of death in King County.
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.9 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health – Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.