USDA Awards LAUSD With “Healthier US School Challenge” Honors

USDA Awards LAUSD With “Healthier US School Challenge” Honors

490 LAUSD Schools Received $252,000 to Further Promote Nutrition & Physical Activity at Their Campuses


LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Principals, teachers, students and
staff at 490 campuses across Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
received an early holiday present from the USDA today, collectively accepting a
total of $252,000 for winning “Healthier US Schools Challenge” (HUSSC) awards
for promoting nutrition and physical activities at their respective
schools.  HUSSC is a voluntary initiative established in 2004 to recognize
those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program which have
created healthier school environments through the promotion of nutrition and
physical activity.

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“This accomplishment reinforces our commitment to serve nutritious meals and
encourage our students to stay fit,” said LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy.
“Studies show that when students eat right, exercise regularly and get proper
rest, their health not only improves, but they also do better in school.” 

Awarded the most HUSSC awards in 2011, LAUSD received recognition and
monetary awards based on the schools’ commitment to promoting health and
nutrition: Bronze ($500), Silver ($1,000) and Gold Award of Distinction
($2,000).  Top honors were received by the following campuses:

Gold Award



112th Street Elementary

Glassell Park

Elementary School


Elementary School

Elementary School

Elementary School


In February 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama introduced Let’s Move!,
incorporating the Healthier US School Challenge into her campaign to raise a
generation of healthier children.  At that time, monetary incentive awards
became available for each HUSSC award level: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Gold
Award of Distinction.

Criteria to become a HUSSC school include: enrollment as a Team Nutrition
School and having a nutrition advocate on campus; offering meals that
demonstrate healthy menu planning practices; providing nutrition and physical
education to students, and the opportunity for physical activity. Schools that
received the Gold Award of Distinction have more than 65 percent of students
participate in the school meal program, and a minimum of 10 percent of the
student population eat the vegetable of the day. In addition, all of these
schools do not serve/sell those foods not approved (competitive foods) by the
USDA, the California Department of Education (CDE) or District policy.

“These awards became a reality as a result of our partnership with the Office
of Physical Education, Food Services Division, Network for a Healthy
California—LAUSD, Beyond the Bell and Student Health and Human Services
Division,” said David Binkle, LAUSD Director of Food Services.  “To receive
these many awards is truly an honor and the monetary contributions would go a
long away to further educate students about the importance of healthy eating and
physical activity.”

LAUSD’s Food Services Department has been one of the leaders in setting
school food nutrition policies nationally.  Aside from the HUSSC awards,
the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a national nonprofit
organization that promotes healthy diets, honored LAUSD’s Food Services
Department with the “Golden Carrot” for making major nutritional policy changes
thereby establishing the District as a recognized national leader in the effort
to promote healthy food and lifestyles to combat diabetes, obesity and other
health issues.  The California Endowment also honored Food Services
Director David Binkle with the “Health Happens Hero” award for his efforts to
deliver healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals to local students. 

Since 2002, LAUSD has instituted major nutritional policy changes making the
District a recognized national leader in the effort to promote healthy food and
lifestyles to combat diabetes, obesity and other health issues. LAUSD
continually revamps its menu to offer a variety of student-approved, plant-based
entrees, including vegetable tamales, fresh salads, vegetable bean burgers, and
tortellini with a butternut squash sauce. In addition, the District created the
“I’M IN” campaign, an all-inclusive program designed to raise awareness about
the District’s healthy meals to help fight childhood obesity and to encourage
student attendance. 

In 2004, the CDE and LAUSD began monitoring physical education programs to
ensure that the proper quality and quantity are provided to District students to
learn the skills and knowledge to be physically active and healthy adults. With
the strong leadership of the school board and superintendent, LAUSD has created
policy changes to combat obesity-related diseases and implement the “physical
education plan” that has been recognized as a best practice example for the
school districts throughout California to provide quality physical education for
all students.

For a full list of schools awarded, see attached, visit Team Nutrition
website at: or
the LAUSD Food Services
Website at:  For more information about
the “I’M IN” campaign, visit

SOURCE Los Angeles Unified School District

USDA Awards LAUSD With “Healthier US School Challenge” Honors