Washington, D.C.—As the latest phase of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) strong school nutrition standards take effect, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation will honor 250 schools for becoming healthier places. School leaders will receive National Healthy Schools Awards at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Leaders Summit, September 12—13, in Washington, D.C. President Bill Clinton will recognize the event guests and award recipients for their efforts in the fight against childhood obesity on Friday evening.
President Clinton also will share data showing how the Alliance paved the way for healthier school meals through a series of agreements brokered with leading school food manufacturers in 2011, prior to federal nutrition standards taking effect. According to preliminary results from a multi-year evaluation, the sale of “Alliance—compliant” healthier school meal products by these leading manufacturers—those products with whole grains, lean protein, and zero transfat cooking oils; non-fried vegetables; fresh/frozen/canned fruit; and low-fat lunch entrées with reduced total fat, saturated fat, and sodium levels—increased 71 percent between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 school years.
“This data suggests that unhealthy food choices are being replaced by healthy food choices for millions of students across the country,” said President Bill Clinton, co-founder of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s work with schools and food companies proves that with planning and support, manufacturers can make and sell healthier foods, schools will offer it, and kids will eat it.”
Recognized schools are taking advantage of the healthier choices and are leading by example. Working with the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, an evidence-based, national initiative that guides schools to create, implement, and sustain healthy environments, schools across the country are making comprehensive healthy changes. One hundred percent of the 250 schools receiving the National Healthy Schools Award:
- Meet or exceed updated federal nutrition standards for school breakfast and lunch, which include increased fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich items and meals lower in saturated fat
- Offer school breakfast to their students every day
- Met the beverage requirements for the federal Smart Snacks in School standards ahead of the July 1, 2014, requirement
- Implement district wellness policies and report progress annually, ahead of the proposed rule
- Provide students with at least 60 minutes of physical education per week and ensure activity throughout the school day
The 250 recognized schools, 64 percent of which are high need (40 percent or more of the student population is eligible for free and reduced price lunches), come from 30 states. Each recognized school meets or exceeds stringent standards set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for healthy eating and physical activity programs and policies. Schools are eligible for National Healthy Schools Awards at the Bronze, Silver, or Gold level based on the success they achieve and are also eligible to achieve national recognition with Let’s Move! Active Schools. For a list of the 250 awardees, please see the Alliance’s website.
These awardees are a fraction of the total schools enrolled in the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program across the country. Of all the schools that participate in the program and have such data (approx. 7,000), 97 percent are meeting USDA school meal regulations and 72 percent are meeting the Smart Snacks in School beverage standards.
“With the support of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, the schools we’re honoring today are promoting healthy eating and physical activity policies and practices that are essential to building a national Culture of Health,” said John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, senior vice president for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a primary funder of the Healthy Schools Program. “Their leadership and commitment are making a critical difference in helping to reverse the nation’s epidemic of childhood obesity, and giving kids the right start in leading long, healthy lives.”
“Childhood obesity can carry severe medical consequences for our kids, which is why I’m particularly excited about the accomplishments of these schools. With support from the Alliance, they have inspired staff and students to eat healthier foods and be more physically active,” said Elliott Antman, MD, president of the American Heart Association, which co-founded the Alliance for a Healthier Generation with the Clinton Foundation.
Through Alliance agreements signed in 2011, prior to the implementation of federal nutrition standards, leading school food manufacturers pledged to price healthier items at rates no higher than comparable “non-compliant” items, to shift sales toward products that meet the Alliance’s science-based nutritional criteria, and to shift marketing efforts toward these healthier products.
Now, three years later, at the 2014 Leaders Summit, President Clinton will announce preliminary data regarding the Alliance’s work with school food manufacturers to improve the nutrition of school meals. The data was monitored and validated by Keybridge, a Washington, D.C.-based economic and public policy consulting firm. The data illustrates changes being made by industry to bring healthier and affordable foods into school lunchrooms. In fact, total sales of healthier, Alliance-compliant products to participating schools increased by $130 million, or 71 percent, between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 school years. Alliance-compliant product sales represented nearly a third of all school food sales by these participating manufacturers during the 2012-13 school year.
Representing the majority of the school meals market for proteins and potato products and sizeable shares in most other product categories, participating manufacturers include AdvancePierre Foods, Aryzta, Asian Food Solutions, Bake Crafters, ConAgra Foods, High Liner Foods, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Tasty Brands, Trident Seafoods, and Tyson Foods.
“While the Alliance is pleased to see these steps in the right direction of manufacturers contributing positively to the fight against childhood obesity, we still have a long way to go,” said Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, chief executive officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “It’s going to take thousands more schools following in the footsteps of the school, business, and community leaders we’re recognizing this weekend, and many more manufacturers developing and selling healthier, affordable products to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.”
Additional results, including information on changes in product-specific sales and data updated through the most recent school year (2013—14) will be released in the final study later this year.
Community and Business Awardees
This year, the Alliance is awarding Healthier Generation Hero Awards to community and business leaders who have made extraordinary efforts to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic.
The recipient of the Alliance’s Healthy Out-of-School Time Hero Award is the Wilson Park Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, a community organization that contributes to the healthy development of the young people it works with by focusing on healthy eating and physical activity. The organization replaced unhealthy foods with healthy foods and beverages, found ways to make holiday celebrations healthier, introduced physical activities such as relay races and dancing, and engaged the community in their wellness efforts.
The recipient of the Corporate Hero Award is Sanofi. Because of Sanofi’s commitment to the Alliance, the organization has been able to implement its approach to school wellness in more than 90 schools in New Jersey, directly benefitting more than 56,000 students. In addition, more than 13,000 children of Sanofi US employees now have access to critical preventive services through the Alliance’s Healthier Generation Benefit, which helps promote the development of life-long healthy habits among children and families.
About the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program and 2014 Leaders Summit
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program helps to create and sustain healthy school environments where students, especially those in greatest need, can learn more and flourish. It is proven to have a positive impact on students’ health. Schools participating in the Healthy Schools Program have access to national experts, trainings, and resources including the Smart Snacks Product Calculator, sample menus, and product lists to help meet federal standards.
With the assistance of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, many schools started serving healthier meals in advance of the federal implementation deadline. Similarly, the Alliance is supporting schools in their efforts to serve healthier snacks and beverages in compliance with the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards that went into effect July 1.
“I am honored to say that every single one of our recognized schools—in addition to thousands more also participating in the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program—is prioritizing our children’s health by improving the foods and beverages served to students,” said Wechsler.
The Alliance helps schools build healthier environments for nearly 15 million students by improving physical education, health education, child nutrition, and staff wellness policies and programs in nearly 25,000 schools. Its Healthy Schools Program is funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The Alliance is pleased to welcome additional esteemed guest speakers to the 2014 Leaders Summit: Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Charles E. Milam, principal director for Military Community and Family Policy, U.S. Department of Defense, as well as panel moderator Joy Bauer of NBC’s TODAY Show and master of ceremonies Bonnie Bernstein, veteran sports journalist.
In addition to RWJF, the following organizations are providing support for the 2014 Leaders Summit: Sanofi, NutriBullet, Technogym, Brita, BOKS, SPARK, GoNoodle, GOPHER, The Cooper Institute, Healthy Highway, and Boosterthon.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, empowers kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, health care professionals and families to build healthier environments for millions of children. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org, Twitter, and Facebook.
About The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation builds partnerships of great purpose between businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals everywhere to deliver lasting solutions and empower people to live better lives. Because of the Foundation’s work, 18,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 African farmers have improved their crops to feed 30,000 people; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 5 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 2,300 Commitments to Action to improve more than 400 million lives around the world. Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association (AHA) is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke—America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. The American Heart Association team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of the offices around the country. Follow AHA on Facebook and Twitter.