Good news for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative: the program has met and surpassed its nationwide goal for number of healthy schools certified by the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). As of June 2012, a whopping 3,717 schools have been certified.
In a July 16 press release, the USDA describes the requirements for certification in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC):
“Schools participating in the challenge voluntarily adopt USDA standards for their efforts in improving food and beverage offerings, teaching kids about nutritious food choices and being physically active, providing opportunities for physical activity, and having supportive school wellness policies.”
The Let’s Move! program began in February 2010, as a part of the First Lady’s ongoing objectives of reducing childhood obesity and improving nutrition. In collaboration with the USDA, it challenged school stakeholders to double the number of HUSSC-certified schools within a year, and then to increase that number by 1,000 schools per year for the following two years.
Now, a full year ahead of schedule, the USDA has exceeded the First Lady’s goal. Janey Thornton, the USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, describes the significance of this achievement:
“By prioritizing nutrition and physical activity for their children, leaders in these schools and the communities that support them are playing a crucial role in building a healthier next generation. [...] Through their leadership, we are confident that schools across the nation will be able to implement the new standards for nutrition and ensure that the 32 million lunches and 13 million breakfasts served in schools every day will continue to play a key role in the fight against obesity in this country.”
What do you think of this milestone? Will it make a significant difference in the lives of the next generation, or is further intervention necessary? What’s the next step? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!