CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia is one of three states selected to receive a $15,000 grant through the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).
The three-year grant, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be used to develop and implement policies to foster healthy eating among students and promote school health programs. The money will be used to help provide training and technical assistance to school food service staff in making school meals healthier, including incorporating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
“Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle lead to solid academic success that will continue throughout a student’s lifetime,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “The grant will help our schools help children develop lifelong healthy eating habits at an early age.”
Strong nutrition and wellness programs are especially important in a state like West Virginia, where one in three children born today will likely develop diabetes by the time they grow up. Nearly 85,000 of West Virginia students are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Yet research proves repeatedly that there is a significant link between student health and learning.
That’s why since 1994, West Virginia has been a trailblazer in child nutrition improvements and has included health and wellness in its goals and priorities. More fruits and vegetables were added to school meals and must be offered fresh five times a week. Whole grains, dried beans and peas were incorporated to increase fiber and iron intake. And schools are encouraged to cook more with fresh ingredients.
“With this grant, we are pleased to support the continuation of the work already taking place in West Virginia,” said NASBE Executive Director Jim Kohlmoos.
During the grant period, West Virginia Board of Education members will work with NASBE personnel as well as health and education experts in West Virginia to compile a short list of critical student health areas for policy development, including nutrition. State board members also will work to modify existing policy to include annual assessments of every school’s food service program as well as training for district food service directors and school principals in the new assessment
For more information, contact Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.