W.Va. Department of Education to Launch Statewide Effort to Improve School Nutrition

October 19, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –West Virginia children are at risk for poor nutrition, and schools are in a great position to do something about it. That’s why the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Child Nutrition has developed a nationally recognized policy to improve school nutrition and launched a statewide campaign to dramatically improve the way kids eat at school. Local nutrition directors are taking a lead in the Smart Foods=Smarter Kids campaign by directly engaging parents, students, school s and community leaders in the effort to improve school nutrition. 
School nutrition directors and local wellness council members will learn about the Smart Foods=Smarter Kids campaign and other nutrition issues during a three-day statewide conference October 20 through October 22 at Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown.

“Families, schools and communities have a shared role in teaching children healthy eating habits and physical activity,” said state Superintendent Steve Paine. “The participants in this conference will learn new ways they can help children build skills and knowledge to live a healthy life now and for years to come.”

Throughout the conference, emphasis will be placed on the opportunities, challenges and decisions child nutrition personnel face while providing nourishing meals and creating healthy school environments for West Virginia students. Participants will learn how the Smart Foods=Smarter Kids program can help reverse the tide of childhood obesity. The online toolkit focuses on five aspects of the state’s child nutrition policyEating At School is Cool, Fruitful Fundraising, Healthy Snacks, Rewarding Success and Let’s Party, Let’s Play. In addition, the Web site:  www.wvsmartfoods.com ,  offers healthy recipes, school wellness success stories, customized promotional tools and other information. 

Conference speakers will include Dr. Carole Harris and Dr. Drew Bradlyn from West Virginia University’s Health Research Center, who will provide an overview of research conducted as part of the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyle’s Act.
“To achieve the goal of smart foods and smarter kids, we need to get everyone excited about good child nutrition,” Paine said. “Parents, schools and communities can help make eating at school healthy and cool.” 
For more information regarding the conference, contact Rick Goff, executive director for the Office of Child Nutrition, at (304) 558-2709, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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