Tag Archives: schools

MSU Extension educators to collaborate with the Michigan Department of Education for smarter school lunches

Michigan State University Extension will be collaborating with the Michigan Department of Education on the recently awarded 2014 USDA Team Nutrition grant. MSU Extension educators across the state will be working directly with 50 schools to conduct Smarter Lunchroom Assessments in the school’s cafeterias. Schools that participate will receive a small financial incentive to complete 10 activities in the cafeteria. The MSU Extension staff members that are leading this partnership include Dawn Earnesty, Sheilah Hebert and Becky Henne.

The evidence-based activities are designed to equip schools with tools that improve children’s eating behaviors, and improve the cafeteria environment and food offerings. Thirty-five of those schools will also be given the opportunity to receive additional support from MSU Extension staff to implement a Healthier School Environment Toolkit. The toolkit will include resources on Coordinated School Health Teams, Healthy School Action Tool Assessment, Local School Wellness Policies, Smart Snacks legislation and other evidence-based strategies such as taste testing, working with student teams, healthy meetings, and adult and peer modeling and coaching to make healthy choices.

MSU Extension staff will receive specialized training on conducting Smarter Lunchroom Assessments, a program designed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.

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Filed under Accomplishments, Nutrition

MSUE in Kent County helps tackle childhood obesity

When Michigan State University medical researchers were looking for someone to work with them on a childhood obesity prevention project in the Grand Rapids public schools, they immediately turned to MSU Extension. According to Betty Blase, Kent CED, such a partnership is a natural fit for a county office that’s familiar with nutrition education in schools.

The Kent County Coordinated School Health program has been working to have school health teams to identify ways they can improve the health of children in their schools. That relationship will be carried through with the FIT initiative, a Blue Cross Blue Shield-funded initiative that will focus on four elementary schools and surrounding neighborhoods in Grand Rapids. The goal is to reduce childhood obesity by increasing physical activity, improving nutrition and collaborating with school staff and parents.

Kent County MSUE is charged with providing technical assistance and training around nutrition education and physical education curricula, and with helping teachers integrate nutrition education and daily structured physical activity. It’s an exciting project that the group hopes will be sustainable long after the grant money runs out.

You can read more about the grant here. Are you doing something in your area to help keep childhood obesity in check? Tell us about it in the comments’ section.

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Filed under Food, Funding, health, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Youth development