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

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

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Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

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Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

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