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Local Schools Among Winners of USDA ‘Health Challenge’

An elementary school in Northeast Los Angeles and one in East L.A. are among the top winners of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Healthier US Schools Challenge,” it was announced Dec. 15.

The LAUSD as a whole received $252,000 in prizes, with Glassell Park Elementary in Northeast Los Angeles and Lorena Elementary in East Los Angeles each earning “gold medal of distinction awards” and $2,000 for promoting nutrition and physical activities. A third school, Castelar Elementary also received the award.

Silver medals and $1,000 prizes went to Brockton, Leland, Purche, Reseda and the 112th Street elementary schools. Other awards brought the total prizes paid to the district’s wellness programs to $252,000.

The awards go to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through the promotion of nutrition and physical activity.

“This accomplishment reinforces our commitment to serve nutritious meals and encourage our students to stay fit,” said LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy. “Studies show that when students eat right, exercise regularly and get proper rest, their health not only improves, but they also do better in school.”

In February 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama introduced Let’s Move!, incorporating the Healthier US School Challenge into her campaign to raise a generation of healthier children, the USDA announced.

“These awards became a reality as a result of our partnership with the Office of Physical Education, Food Services Division, Network for a Healthy California LAUSD, Beyond the Bell and Student Health and Human Services Division,” said David Binkle, LAUSD Director of Food Services.

“To receive this many awards is truly an honor and the monetary contributions would go a long away to further educate students about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity,” he said.