Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is encouraging schools throughout the country to participate in the HealthierUS School Challenge, an initiative program that helps improve the health and nutrition of children. USDA created the program to recognize schools that maintain healthy school environments by improving the quality of meals and increasing physical activity and nutrition education. The HUSSC is also a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.
"The Challenge encourages schools to take voluntary extra steps toward improving the nutrition of all foods offered in schools, enhancing the opportunity for children to be physically active during the school day and providing nutrition education to help them learn how to make healthy lifestyle decisions," Vilsack said. "There are also steps that moms and dads and others in the community can take to improve the health and nutrition of the meals their kids eat each day."
According to an Institute of Medicine Report released in October 2009, school-age children eat too many discretionary calories, too few fruits and vegetables, particularly dark green and dark orange fruits and vegetables, too few whole grains and low-fat dairy products and too many solid fats and sugars.