We have been working with school districts in our community to move the needle on childhood obesity since 2011. In the past four years, we have been able to expand our partnerships to include nine school districts throughout our region, including our most recent collaboration with Spokane Public Schools. This partnership represents our first attempts to take this initiative to scale in an urban setting, and we are hoping to replicate the incredible results we have seen with our first partner districts. With our partners, we work collaboratively to implement the multi-pronged systems and policy change that result in measurable declines in obesity. Check out our results from the first two intervention school districts in the graph below:
One anchor strategy in this multi-pronged approach is working with school nutrition services to convert to a healthy, wholesome, scratch-cooking model. Replacing processed chicken nuggets with scratch-cooked herb baked chicken makes it easy for students to make the healthy choice, and financial analysis shows that this change actually increases revenue after just two years, making this a financially sustainable model.
In addition to transforming school kitchens, these partnerships also involve working with teachers and school administration to implement healthier school policies throughout the building. We support these efforts by deploying a district Wellness Coordinator, who helps teachers incorporate healthy classroom practices, such as active brain breaks and healthy snacks, into their daily activities. Among other things, the Wellness Coordinator provides opportunities for after school physical activities, and supports professional development opportunities for physical education teachers.
Take a look at the documents below if you want to learn more: