U.S.D.A. unveils grants for nutrition

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack unveiled $6.4 million in funding as part of investments geared to helping children develop positive nutrition and physical activity habits that may lead to healthier lifestyles. The grants, which will be divided among 31 states, are expected to provide nutrition education materials, resources for children and parents, and technical assistance and training for school food service providers and communities participating in the National School Lunch and Child and Adult Care Food Programs.

The funding supports elementary and secondary schools applying for the HealthierUS School Challenge, a key component of the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation.

“If we want to build a strong economy and win the future, then we also need to win the race to educate our kids,” Mr. Vilsack said. “And that means making sure that the 32 million kids who eat school lunches every day are fueled by nutritious food and healthy habits. With that winning combination we can help to reduce and prevent childhood obesity and ensure a more healthful future for every child in America.”

The U.S.D.A. said states will be responsible for providing training and technical assistance to school food service staff in making school meals healthier, and for ensuring that more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk products appear on the menu during the two-year grant period. Grantees also will promote the use of U.S.D.A. Foods and teach children to make healthy food choices through hands-on nutrition education experiences.

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