King County is taking action
With one in five students in King County overweight or obese, we agree with Marilyn McKenna’s concern that having healthy foods in schools is a critical component to addressing the childhood obesity epidemic. [“Guest column: Curbing childhood obesity starts with school lunches,” Opinion, Aug. 14.]
Six school districts with high obesity rates (Seattle, Highline, Tukwila, Renton, Kent and Auburn) are working together to change the school nutrition landscape, thanks to a federal grant focused on community health.
Seattle Public Schools facilitates the group working to update and strengthen school nutrition and physical activity wellness policies and implement new regulations for foods sold outside of the cafeteria. These districts are offering more fresh fruits and vegetables. More than 400 cafeteria staff from 12 school districts in the county have completed the culinary and nutrition training known as “discover. cook. nourish.”
The Harvest of the Month program teaches elementary students about Washington-grown foods on the menu. Kent, Renton and Auburn are working on a Farm-to-School program to purchase and promote locally-grown produce from farmers.
Parents and community members can help by getting involved in shaping school wellness policies.
Wendy Weyer, Seattle Public Schools, and Donna Oberg, Public Health Seattle & King County