Wellness initiatives credited with obesity rate decrease

Five percent fewer students overweight or obsese compared to 2012 survey.

March 21—Efforts to improve student health in Chula Vista (Calif.) elementary schools appear to be paying off. In 2010, a districtwide survey of students' height and weight found that 39.8 percent were overweight or obese.

Since then, the Chula Vista Elementary School District has revamped its wellness policy, taking steps that include promoting gym time, ending unhealthy treats during the school day and removing chocolate milk from the lunch menu.

The changes paid off. Five percent fewer Rice students were overweight or obese when the second survey was conducted this year. But Evita Sawyers, a Rice parent and PTA member, said trading popsicle and nacho fundraisers for fruit and vegetable boxes wasn't initially popular. When the district began its efforts, health professionals told Superintendent Francisco Escobedo not to expect instant results.

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Industry News & Opinion

Sidney Central School District in Sidney, N.Y., has received $58,783 from the state to improve its farm-to-school program, The Daily Star reports.

The grant will be used to aid in appointing a farm-to-school coordinator and assistant who will help source local farm products for 10 districts in the region for NY Thursday, an initiative where cafeterias attempt to serve meals made entirely by local ingredients every Thursday.

The funding is part of a $12 million award spread among 12 districts throughout the state by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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Industry News & Opinion

Denver Public Schools has begun posting cooking videos on its Facebook page in an effort to promote the scratch-made meals served in its cafeterias, Denverite reports.

The video tutorials are set up in a similar way to Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos, showing a pair of hands from above as they prepare a meal to background music. The Colorado district promotes the videos with the hashtag #DPSDelicious.

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Industry News & Opinion

Oregon State University will begin weighing waste in its food halls after receiving a $27,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management program, the Gazette Times reports.

The school will use the money to install a computer-based system to help keep track of the waste .

Through the system, which includes a scale and a camera, staff will be able to weigh leftover food and take a photo of it before it’s discarded.

After reviewing the data collected, school officials say they may try to reduce portion sizes, alter purchases or...

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