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ACHIEVE Healthy Menu Pilot in Peninsula District Schools

ACHIEVE Healthy Communities is a national initiative* that brings local leaders and stakeholders together to build healthier communities by promoting policy and environmental change strategies focused on chronic disease and obesity. As one of the first ten

The 2006 Tacoma-Pierce County Healthy Youth Survey found:

  • 26% of Pierce County 10th graders are considered overweight or obese
  • 44% did not eat breakfast on the day of the survey
  • Only 23% eat the recommended amount of 5-9 fruits and vegetables per day

communities selected in 2008 to pilot the ACHIEVE model, Tacoma-Pierce County chose to focus on childhood obesity with an emphasis on increasing access to nutritious foods, physical activity, and healthy environments.

Through a collaborative process, the ACHIEVE team selected school nutrition as a priority area in order to empower children to make healthful food choices. The team engaged school food service directors with goal of working toward additional nutrition standards for fiber, sugar, and fat and other nutrients in order to meet the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for children on a daily basis. Making nutritional information available to students and parents on school menus and menu boards is a second goal of the team.

There are some common concerns that surface when changing school menus. Possible barriers include food cost, demands on staff time, catering to student preferences, decreased participation, and resources required for nutritional labeling. In order to develop effective strategies for reducing these barriers, the ACHIEVE team will hire a consultant dietitian with expertise in school food service to design three weeks of menus to pilot in Peninsula School District in partnership with the district’s Child Nutrition Director, Sid Taylor. The goal is to develop lunch menus that are consistent with national dietary guidelines, feasible for schools, and appealing to students. The menus will be served in selected Peninsula District schools during February 2010. Nutritional information will be posted or made available on menus, menu boards, and the district’s web site. ACHIEVE’s Media and Marketing Team will help promote the pilot project to students, families, and school staff to boost participation. The ACHIEVE team is also exploring opportunities to expand the pilot project to Tacoma School District.

Partners

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA, Peninsula School District, Sodexo, Franciscan Health System, Multicare, Pierce County Council, Tacoma City Council, Tacoma Metro Parks, Tacoma School District, Pierce County Medical Society, Pacific Lutheran University

Evaluation

Menu costs, school meal participation, and student, staff, and parent satisfaction will be evaluated during the pilot project.

* More about ACHIEVE Healthy Communities
ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE) is a nation-wide initiative sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with selected national organizations. ACHIEVE aims to enhance local communities’ abilities to develop and implement policy, systems, and environmental change strategies that will help prevent or manage health-risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and arthritis.

Since the program began in 2008, 53 communities across the country have been selected to participate. Six of the current ACHIEVE communities are in Washington: Tacoma-Pierce County, Island County, Klickitat County, Lynnwood, Longview, and Whatcom County.

Target Audience

K-12 students

Scope

Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula, Tacoma, Pierce County

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