The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Ranae Ganske-Cerizo will visit Kihei Public Charter School (KPCS) on Thursday, Oct. 18, to present the school with a Bronze Award of Distinction and $500. KPCS is the first Hawai'i school to achieve this distinction by working to support and improve the health of its children and community. As part of the school's effort, healthy items are featured on menus and physical education and activity emphasized. Its efforts are part of the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC).
The HUSSC is a voluntary national certification initiative for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. It supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign by recognizing schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity.
Sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the initiative encourages all schools to take a leadership role in helping students to make healthier eating and physical activity choices that will last a lifetime. Schools such as KPCS that champion the HUSSC work hard to make changes to their school nutrition environment in order to improve the quality of the foods served, provide students with nutrition education, and provide students with physical education and opportunities for physical activity.
To qualify for an award, a school must submit a formal application and meet basic criteria that reflect the recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published recommendations for foods that should be served in schools, outside of the organized school lunch meals. HealthierUS Schools must also have a local school wellness policy, as mandated by Congress. Schools receiving a HUSSC award commit to meeting the criteria throughout their four-year certification period.