Healthy Schools Act
Click on the logo below to visit the D.C. Healthy Schools Act website...
Food insecurity and paradoxically obesity are serious problems for the District of Columbia. In fact, one in eight households faces a constant struggle against hunger. More than 70 percent of students in D.C. public and public charter schools qualify for free meals. Children who lack consistent access to nutritious foods are more likely to be in poor health and suffer from nutrition related diseases such as obesity. Poor nutrition also negatively impacts school readiness and future career success as hungry children have difficulty focusing, miss more days of school, and score lower on standardized assessments.
The Healthy Schools Act (pdf), passed unanimously by the D.C. Council in 2010, is designed to improve the health, wellness, and nutrition of District children by helping schools, students and families eat healthy, stay active, learn healthy habits, care for the environment, and create healthy school communities.
The Act features several key anti-hunger provisions including:
- Free universal breakfast for all students.
- Breakfast in the classroom and other innovative service models.
- Elimination of the reduced-price co-payment for school meals.
The Act also provides opportunities to improve District children’s health through a variety of measures, including: enhanced nutrition in school meals; increased physical activity and education; stronger school wellness policy implementation and accountability; and promotion of school health centers.
What’s happening in D.C.
Check out this video, produced by American University and Kaiser Permanente to see how the Act is transforming the school environment:
Below are 4 facts on how the D.C. Healthy Schools Act is continuing to help children and teens get the nutrition they need to take full advantage of classroom lessons:
- All school meals meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s Healthier US School Challenge Gold Standard and include whole grains, low fat milk, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- All students in D.C. public and public charter schools can receive FREE breakfast. Schools that have more than 40 percent of students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals are required to serve breakfast using an alternative service model such as breakfast in the classroom.
- Thanks to the D.C. Healthy Schools Act many meals contain locally-grown produce. Many schools also offer farm-to-school or school garden programming to compliment the school meal program and encourage children try new fruits and vegetables.
- Many D.C. public and public charter schools serve a nutritious supper or snack to students enrolled in afterschool programming.
Innovative breakfast serving models make breakfast truly accessible – after the school day begins, and in a location, like the classroom, where all students are able to eat. Check out this video on Breakfast in the Classroom:
As a result of the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), many D.C. public and public charter schools also serve breakfast and lunch for FREE to all students.
- Healthy School Act website.
- Sign up for the Healthy Schools Act Tip of the Month. Each tip highlights how schools are putting the Healthy Schools Act into Action — with information on the Act and school spotlights. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- D.C. Healthy Schools Act brochure (pdf).
- Download information on national efforts to connect children to school meals and other child nutrition programs at the Food Research and Action Center’s website.