Wanting to ensure that West Virginia children are receiving their portions of fruits and vegetables, schools across the Mountain State will be serving up nutritious fruits and vegetables as part of the daily lunches. School lunches and breakfasts are an ideal way for children to receive part of their recommended daily requirements toward maintaining healthy diets. “The West Virginia Board of Education will continue with its healthy child initiative by promoting September as ‘5-A-Day’ month, and good nutrition and active lifestyles throughout the school year,” said State Schools Superintendent David Stewart. “We know that when our children’s bodies are healthy so are their minds.”
“The Department of Agriculture is proud to play its part in bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to West Virginia’s schoolchildren,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. “Thanks to the Donated Foods program and improvements in production and packaging methods, produce is fresher and more convenient than ever for our students, which will encourage them to eat better balanced diets.”
WVDA Marketing and Development Director Jean Smith added that West Virginia fruits and vegetables are still available at Farmers' Markets throughout the state to supplement the good foods received at school and to help families in general accomplish the five-a-day goal for the entire family. An A.C. Nielsen study of more than 3,000 households nationwide commissioned by Produce for Better Health Foundation found that more than 50 percent of parents are feeding their children only two or fewer fruit and vegetable servings per day, and only 12 percent of Americans are eating the recommended daily five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables. Reports also reveal that children who maintain healthy lifestyles by eating nutritious meals including at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day perform better academically.
“The beginning of the school year is the ideal time to teach children the importance of a healthy diet,” Stewart added. For more information about the Five-A-Day month, contact Kathy Talley, coordinator with the Office of Child Nutrition, at (304) 558-5363, or visit www.5aday.com.