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California Project LEAN

Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition

This edition of California Project LEAN's enews highlights 17 grantees that have been funded by two California Department of Public Health (CDPH) programs, California Obesity Prevention Program and California Project LEAN, to support obesity prevention efforts in communities across California. Read on to learn more about new resources and case studies for improving school meals, beverages, and physical activity opportunities.  

California Project LEAN and the California Obesity Prevention Program Support 17 Obesity Prevention Projects

California Project LEAN is pleased to announce that nine grants were awarded to organizations throughout the state to develop local obesity prevention policies addressing sugar-sweetened beverages and joint use of school facilities as part of CDPH's Communities Putting Prevention to Work obesity prevention grant.


Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Grants

Four Central Valley organizations were awarded grants to develop policies in worksites, local government, schools, and health care facilities that increase access to healthier beverages while decreasing access to sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, sweetened juice drinks, and sports drinks. Grants were awarded to the Dolores Huerta Foundation; Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation; the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Health Services; and the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program.


Communities throughout the state and nation are beginning to address access to healthy beverages through public policy. For more information about our SSB efforts, contact Cyndi Walter.


Joint Use of School Facilities Grants

Five agencies have been awarded grants to develop school district joint use of school facilities policies that support community use of school facilities for physical activity and recreation. Joint use - the term used when entities come together to share outdoor and indoor spaces - is an opportunity for cities, schools, and community organizations to share/develop parks, playgrounds, and public spaces for physical activity. The following agencies have been awarded joint use grants, San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families, Redwood City 2020, Fresno Metro Ministries, St. Mary Hospital Foundation (Adelanto), and the Earlimart School District.


The joint use project is a joint project of two CDPH programs, California Project LEAN and the Safe and Active Communities Branch. For more information about our Joint Use efforts, contact Joanne Gooley.


California Obesity Prevention Program GrantsCOPP

The California Obesity Prevention Program is pleased to announce that eight organizations were awarded grants to support local obesity prevention activities focused on physical activity and nutrition policy and environmental change strategies in at least one of the following target areas:

  • Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Increase physical activity
  • Increase breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity
  • Decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Decrease consumption of high energy dense foods (foods that are high in calories but  have low nutritional value)
  • Decrease television viewing time (screen time

    Grants were awarded to California State University, Chico Research Foundation; Mendocino County's Health Zones Project; Monterey County Health Department; Shasta County Public Health; the City of Rancho Cucamonga's Healthy RC Kids Partnership; Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services; Shape Up San Francisco; and United Way of Santa Cruz County.


    Read more about the grantee's work. 

    Eliminating Electrolyte Replacement Beverages in California Public Schools

    case studiesIn 2005, California passed some of the most stringent state legislation in the nation that set limits on the types of competitive foods and beverages that could be sold a la carte outside of the federally-reimbursable school meal program. California's legislation allows electrolyte replacement beverages (ERBs), a type of sugar-sweetened beverage commonly referred to as sports drinks, to be sold in public, middle, and high schools.


    A recent study looking at the impact of competitive food and beverage standards found that eight of the top ten beverages offered for sale at California public high schools were ERBs. Some school districts have prohibited the sale of ERBs in all of their schools. California Project LEAN highlights a few of those districts in the publication, "Eliminating Electrolyte Replacement Beverages in California Public Schools."


    Lemon Grove School District is a K-8 district serving 3,800 students in five elementary schools, one K-8, and one middle school, with 73 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals.


    Nutrition Services Director Robin McNulty took an incremental approach to eliminating the sale of ERBs and ultimately all competitive foods. First, she replaced the 24-ounce ERBs, sold for $1.25, with a 10-ounces bottle sold for $1. Students were limited to purchasing only two a la carte items to discourage students from buying multiple bottles. There was little impact on revenue from this change.


    Robin then worked with her Wellness Committee and a group of 30 middle school students to discuss and taste test healthier drink options, ultimately choosing 100% fruit juices they believed their fellow students would enjoy and purchase. At the beginning of the next school year the juices were introduced, and the ERBs were eliminated. While the juices were popular, the biggest sales increase was in bottled water which, while costing slightly more than the juice, came in a larger serving size.


    Based on this experience, Robin recommends student involvement from the beginning to the end of the decision-making process, as well as reevaluating progress along the way.  Read about more school districts.

    Formalize Your School District's Committment to the Summer Meal Program


    SFSPSummer may bring back memories of fun in the sun for many, but for thousands of low-income children in California, summer can be time of hunger. With more than half the student population in California's public schools enrolled in the State's free and reduced-priced meal program, and an increase in families applying for food assistance, Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP) provide vital nourishment to children during the long school break.


    "Providing Access to Nutrition Meals During Summer," a Childhood Obesity Prevention Program-funded policy brief from the California School Boards Association (CSBA), outlines the history and need for SFSPs and highlights a successful program that began in the San Diego Unified School District in 2004 and grew to serve 250,000 meals and snacks by the summer of 2009.


    SFSP allows a local sponsor to combine a meal program with a summer activity program. The program sponsor can be a school district, public agency, or nonprofit organization in the community. Meals can be served not just at summer schools, but also at municipal parks and recreation centers, community centers, residential and day camps, and other settings, allowing sponsors to bring nutritious meals to locations frequented by children during the summer.


    The brief also describes the Seamless Summer Feeding Option, a program that encourages school districts and county offices of education to provide meals in low- income areas during summer and other school breaks by continuing the same meal service rules and claiming procedures used during the regular school year to reduce paperwork and administrative burdens.


    Fall is a good time to formalize a district's commitment to summer meal programs so that the district is ready to offer meals next summer. CSBA offers Sample Board Policy 3552(a) titled "Summer Meal Program." Read the brief and sample policy language here

    BreakfastFirst Campaign - Start the Day Right!


    BreakfastFirstThe BreakfastFirst Campaign is a three-year initiative that aims to ensure that all students are served optimally nutritious breakfasts through innovative models, such as Classroom Breakfast and Second Chance Breakfast. These models are known to dramatically increase participation, bringing the benefits of school breakfast to the maximum number of students.


    The benefits of breakfast for children are many and well documented and include increased intake of vital nutrients, lower body mass index, and increased motivation. The benefits of the Classroom and Second Chance Breakfast programs to schools are increasingly being recognized by fewer complaints to school nurses of headaches and stomachaches, decreased disciplinary suspensions, fewer absent and tardy students, and increased test scores.


    The BreakfastFirst Campaign tackles issues of access, participation, and nutritional qualityin the School Breakfast Program throughout California. To most effectively utilize resources, the first phase of the campaign will primarily focus on ten school districts strategically selected for their large numbers of low-income students not participating in the School Breakfast Program. Working to strengthen breakfast programs in these school districts is an efficient means of supporting the greatest possible number of students. Best practices and lessons learned from the critical first phase will be disseminated to school districts throughout the state as the campaign progresses.


    Key state and regional organizations, led by California Food Policy Advocates, have committed to support the campaign efforts, including California Project LEAN and the California Obesity Prevention Program, both programs of the California Department of Public Health, Superintendent Jack O'Connell, Association of California School Administrators, California School Boards Association, California School Nurses Organization, California School Nutrition Association, California State PTA, California Teachers Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture - Western Region.


    For more information and useful strategies to increase breakfast participation, visit, or contact Tia Shimada at [email protected] or 510.433.1122 ext. 109 or Ellen Braff-Guajardo at [email protected] or 510.301.0824.

    October 2010
    Girl at Playground
    In This Issue
    CPL and COPP Support Obesity Prevention
    Eliminating ERBs
    Summer Meal Programs
    BreakfastFirst Campaign
    SPARKpower Grant Awardees
    Upcoming Events


    Quick Links

    Comprehensive Physical Activity Program Article 

    CPL's School Board Work Highlighted at CPPW Training

    CPL Receives Sodium Grant



    Five Elementary Schools Get SPARKed Up! 


    Thanks to a grant from the California Obesity Prevention Program, five elementary schools in California received funding to implement one of SPARK's School Specialty research-based physical education programs.


    SPARKpower grants were awarded this past June to the following schools through a competitive application process: Cielo Vista Charter School, Palm

    Springs; John Muir Magnet School for Global Citizenship, San Diego; La Escuelita Elementary School, Oakland; Selma Avenue Elementary, Los Angeles; and Strauch Elementary School, Sacramento.


     SPARK Executive Director Paul Rosengard expressed his gratitude to the California Obesity Prevention Program, a program of the California Department of Public Health, for supporting the new SPARKpower grants. "We chose the word power because today's data ARE powerful: Healthy students are better learners," Paul explained. "Both organizations are committed to helping every California elementary school create an environment where children and their teachers move a lot more -- and make smart food choices both on and off campus."


    For more information on SPARK and the SPARKpower grants please visit: 
    Upcoming Events
    Active Bodies, Active Minds
    November 8, 2010
    (Denver, CO)
    November 15, 2010(Sacramento)

     June 28-July 1, 2011 
    (San Diego)

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    California Project LEAN | PO Box 997377, MS 7211 | Sacramento | CA | 95899
    Tel: (916) 552-9907 | Fax: (916) 552-9909 |

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    Photo of girl on playground by Tim Wagner