W.Va. Receives Grant to Help Children Develop Better Habits

September 19, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education has been chosen to receive part of a $5 million Team Nutrition Training Grant being awarded to 20 states to help schoolchildren develop better eating and physical activity habits. West Virginia is slated to receive $348,537 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture program.

West Virginia will use its grant to bring on the HEATT -- its Healthy Eating and Activity Teams and Tactics project. HEATT will include training and support for multidisciplinary teams,including foodservice staff; school-basedactivities designed to empower students to make healthy choices; a parent/school newsletter; and a resource for all elementary and middle schools that will featurehealthy and nutritious school parties.
“Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle lead to solid academic success that will continue throughout a student’s lifetime,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Building a healthy lifestyle should start at an early age at school and at home.”
Eleven county school districts and 31 schools will be chosen to participate as pilot sites. Project grants of $4,500 will be awarded to each school to support training and implementation of school activities. 
“This grant will help us increase awareness about the health benefits that come from good nutrition and physical activity,” said Rick Goff, executive director for the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition. “The more children are exposed to healthy habits, the greater likelihood they will develop lifelong healthy eating habits as adults.”  
Project activities will be led by trained 10-member local teams consisting of the county nutrition program director, and from each school, a school foodservice employee, educator and parent.   Team training workshops, including a college class and practicum for foodservice participants, will be delivered by Piedmont Community and Technical College and the West Virginia Department of Education.
Participating schools will implement school-wide initiatives that actively involve learners in fun, behavior-focused activities. These activities will address school parties, food vending and other competitive food sales, fundraising, meal promotion and physical activity. 
Nutrition remains an important ingredient in the recipe for academic success. Kids who eat at school are better nourished and better prepared to learn.

Schools that wish to participate in the program should submit a grant application by Oct. 8. If you have questions or need further information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition at (304) 558-2708.

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