The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that it will offer states $5.5 million in grants in an attempt to double the number of schools promoting nutrition and physical activity.
The HealthierUS School Challenge, part of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, is a voluntary program that challenges schools to improve the quality of food served in their cafeterias, teach students about nutrition, and increase students’ physical activity.
More than 550 schools are participating in the program now, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said. He said the grants will help cover higher food costs.
The program includes serving a different vegetable every day of the week, providing an average of at least 45 minutes of physical activity a week, banning the use of food as rewards, and serving only 1 percent or fat-free milk. Some of those elements are built into the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed last year.
A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2011 edition of Education Week as New Grants to Aid Healthy Schools