School Administrators for HEALing of Our Children and Youth
In 2013, AASA was awarded a two-year grant from Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to build supportive relationships among superintendents on competitive foods policies. As such, we match school districts that have been successful in adopting strong policies with school districts seeking to improve their policies. Districts are matched in a mentor/mentee relationship according to state/region, district enrollment, and type of district (urban, rural, and suburban). The mentor/mentee initiative is a powerful tool for superintendents to learn from one another and develop smart, actionable and innovative policies and programmatic solutions that comply with USDA’s Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines, which go into effect at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
The goal of this initiative is to increase the number of school districts with strong competitive food policies. Learn about the initiative.
Read a joint letter from U.S. Dept of Education and USDA about successful implementation of the "Smart Snacks in Schools" standards.
Read District Profiles of four AASA members who have worked to ensure healthful snacks in their districts through their Wellness Policies.
What are competitive foods?
The term “competitive foods” refers to any food or beverage sold outside of the Federal meal program. These include foods sold in a la carte lines, vending machines, and school stores.
With childhood obesity reaching epidemic rates, it is now more important than ever to focus on creating a healthy school nutrition environment. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 will help school system leaders with their intent to optimize student health by offering healthier school breakfasts and lunches. While we are still waiting on the federal regulations for competitive foods, now is a great time to get ahead of the curve by adopting strong competitive food policies and learning from those exemplifying best practices. You can help lead this effort.
For more information on competitive foods, please refer to the following resources:
- Bag the Junk: Improving competitive food policy to create healthier, smarter school environments. NEA-HIN, 2012.
- Health Impact Assessment National Nutrition Standards for Snack and a la Carte Foods and Beverages Sold in Schools. Kids’ Safe & Healthful Foods Project. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2012.
- How Competitive Foods in Schools Impact Student Health, School Meal Programs, and Students from Low-Income Families. FRAC, 2010.
- Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, 2012.
- Does Competitive Food and Beverage Legislation Hurt Meal Participation or Revenues in High Schools? Peart, T et al.Childhood Obesity. August 2012, Vol 8, Number 4.
- Action Strategies Toolkit: A Guide for Local and State Leaders Working to Create Healthy Communities and Prevent Childhood Obesity (PDF). Leadership for Healthy Communities, 2011.