apples basketOWENSBORO, Ky. (8/9/13) – It’s always a huge honor to be nationally recognized for hard work and Daviess County can now celebrate its contribution in school nutrition along with the Pew Charitable Trust organization.
 
In 2005, Kentucky passed a law restricting snack foods in schools to help combat the state’s high obesity rates. Daviess County didn’t want to wait for regulation to happen, they want to implement things slowly, said Lisa Sims, School Nutrition Director said. So, in 2004, Daviess County Public Schools pulled together nutritionists, principals, teachers, parents, and students to set guidelines for the food being served at the schools; they called this group the Healthy Student and Staff Initiative.
 
The new guidelines included a reduction in sugar, using all whole grain products, and replacing high sodium with spices. All cheeses and sausage products were replaced with low fat and low sodium substitutes. All the recipes used followed the same examples, Sims said.
 
“We have a wonderful support system for all the other efforts for nutrition and good health for students and staff,” Sims said.
 
The Pew Charitable Trust organization caught wind of the work Daviess County had done with the food program and has been following the initiative since its beginnings.
 
“Daviess County is a shining example,” Jessica Donze Black, Project Director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Program at Pew, said. “They brought together all the stakeholders to construct where they were to where to they are now.”
 
Donze Black’s efforts in healthy eating include making sure kids and parents know that the “healthy choice is the easy choice”.
 
“Eating healthy is good for budges, for kids, and everyone involved,” Donze Black said.
 
The food sold at Daviess County schools, come from six local farmers and their posters are hung up in the cafeterias for the kids to see where their food comes from.
 
“It makes it more personal,” Sims said.
 
Sims was asked to speak on a panel at a meeting of National Security in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. She had the opportunity to speak on why nutrition is important in schools and why that affects soldiers signing up for the military. Sims, with the panel, discussed issues with obesity that so many perspective soldiers have that are hindering them from joining a branch.
 
It doesn’t stop at the cafeteria for Daviess County Schools. A new initiative will take affect in the 2014-2015 school year to stock the existing vending machines with healthy options for students. Sport drinks are being talked about to replace sugary soft drinks, and candy with more nutritional options.
 
To read the article published from Pew Charitable Trust, go to: www.pewhealth.org.
 
Taylor Riley
SurfKY News

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