Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition
This edition of California Project LEAN's enews highlights Earlimart School District's efforts to improve the nutrition environment in their schools. Learn more about the CalFresh Promotion Pilot Project's efforts to build the capacity of promotoras and adult leaders in the promotion of fruit and vegetables and physical activity. Watch a webinar on Health In All Policies (HiAP) or review the HiAP task force report. Read on to learn which youth teams were awarded scholarships to attend the 2011 Childhood Obesity Conference in San Diego.
CalFresh Promotion Pilot Project
California Project LEAN (CPL) is conducting a training program called the CalFresh Promotion Pilot Project, aimed at building the capacity of promotoras and other adult leaders to promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, physical activity, and participation in CalFresh (formerly known as the food stamp program).
Funded by the Network for a Healthy California, California Department of Public Health, the CalFresh Promotion Pilot Project is a peer-led nutrition education and CalFresh promotion effort. Training sessions will be implemented by grantees in Fresno, Tulare, and Alameda counties, and will take place from June to September 2011. Grantees chosen through a competitive process are Proteus, Inc. and Centro La Familia Advocacy Services, Inc., both in Fresno County, FoodLink of Tulare County, and the Alameda County Public Health Department.
CPL will provide a train-the-trainer workshop and provide technical assistance to 25-30 promotoras and adult leaders selected by the grantees. The four grantees will in turn recruit 70 participants each to participate in an educational series of three lessons, provided in English and Spanish, on nutrition education focusing on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, opportunities for physical activity, and increasing participation in food assistance programs, in particular CalFresh. All trainings and technical assistance will be evaluated to ascertain effectiveness toward improving nutrition knowledge, skills, and confidence for peer learning and effectiveness of CalFresh promotion activities.
For more information contact Nestor Martinez.
Earlimart Food Service Director Takes Lead on Wellness
Earlimart School District Food Service Director Clint Lara has taken the lead on improving the nutrition environment at this 2,000-student, pre-kindergarten through 8th grade district in the Central Valley's Tulare County.
With the support of Superintendent Sandra Munoz and staff at the district's three schools, Lara has improved the nutritional quality of and access to school meals, eliminated sugary beverage sales, and added salad bars. He has also provided leadership on healthy fundraising and Farm to School efforts.
Due to concern that many students were not eating breakfast, the schools began offering Second Chance and Grab and Go breakfasts, resulting in a 13 percent increase in participation. Salad bars are in place at two of the three schools and Lara makes it a priority to use whole wheat bread products whenever possible. The district also has a new focus on purchasing produce from local growers.
"The decision to keep them [sugary drinks] off our campuses is easy. Why start selling an item that may soon be banned? Given the strict State of California nutrition standards, when you add another variable into the mix, such as an electrolyte replacement beverage, the task becomes more difficult to stay in compliance with the standards."
Additionally, the district has eliminated the sale of flavored milks and other sugary beverages and has never sold electrolyte replacement beverages (sports drinks).
"Vendors constantly knock on our door to sell sugary drinks like carbonated fruit drinks, flavored milks, sports drinks, and other miscellaneous food items that should not be sold to students," said Lara. "The decision to keep them off our campuses is easy. Why start selling an item that may soon be banned? Given the strict State of California nutrition standards, when you add another variable into the mix, such as an electrolyte replacement beverage, the task becomes more difficult to stay in compliance with the standards."
Realizing that school wellness does not stop at the cafeteria door, Lara is taking the lead on a first-ever Jog-a-Thon to replace the traditional candy sales. He also developed a produce stand at one school through a grant from the Network for a Healthy California.
To ensure continued implementation and sustainability, Lara, his food service team, and Wellness Committee members are incorporating these changes into a revised Wellness Policy, which will be presented for approval to the Earlimart School Board next month. Lara's efforts to turn his healthier food and beverage practices into policy are supported by a California Department of Public Health grant through Communities Putting Prevention to Work.
Health in All Policies Webinar
Ensuring that public policy takes public health into account would seem an obvious strategy to create healthier environments, however implementing this sort of integration presents challenges. Agencies look at policy through different lenses, speak in different and sometimes confusing terms, and often have competing priorities.
Recognizing the challenges, then-Governor Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-04-10 in March 2010, directing the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to establish a Health in All Policy (HiAP) Task Force to bring together policy players and stakeholders to identify priority programs, policies, and strategies to improve the health of Californians while advancing SGC's goals. The Task Force was given a December 2010 deadline to submit a report to SGC outlining recommended programs, policies, and strategies for consideration.
"As public health leaders we have an important role to play in educating others about how to encourage healthy behaviors and healthy environments," said Julia Caplan, HiAP task force lead from the California Department of Public Health. "If we want to see real change we need to educate others about the social determinants of health and talk about the fact that health is largely influenced by the environments in which people live, work, study, and play. We need to make the connections for others so they can see why policy matters and how they have a role."
The 19-agency HiAP Task Force, through a series of meetings, stakeholder interviews, and public workshops, identified 34 recommendations that engage state agencies in collaborative efforts to achieve healthier and more sustainable communities. For example, the Task Force has identified strategies and policy opportunities that, when implemented, will increase access to nutritious foods and provide expanded opportunities for physical activity. Click here for an Executive Summary of the Health in All Policies Task Force Report to the Strategic Growth Council.
The next steps are to identify priority recommendations based on SGC jurisdiction, near-term feasibility, and potential impact, and to develop implementation plans by July 2011. Public workshops are also being held around the state.
Learn more about the HiAP Task Force's report and recommendations by viewing a webinar and power point presentation on Collaboration for Healthy and Sustainability Communities sponsored by the California Obesity Prevention Program.
Youth Scholarship Recipients Announced
California Project LEAN has awarded full scholarships to youth members and their adult allies from 11 organizations to attend and participate in the Childhood Obesity Conference. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the innovative ways these amazing youth advocates from around the country are improving nutrition and physical activity environments in their local communities. Click here to see the scholarship recipients.