HISD Board Wants to Improve Students' Diets

The board will use a 68 thousand dollar grant from two non-profit groups that represent the dairy industry to make nutritious low-fat foods available to students, and develop appealing physical activities for students at ten HISD middle schools. The benefits of better nutrition and more exercise would seem to be self evident, but spokesman Terry Abbott says there's more to it.ξ It's not just a study.

"We're gonna make more low fat food available to the kids, more fruits, more vegetables, with this grant.ξ And then it actually sets up a student committee and a parent committee to help find different and innovative ways to get the kids interested in eating that kind of food.ξ So it's far more than just studying it. It's actually trying to change their behavior."ξ

As for the physical activities this program will promote, Abbott says the goal is to teach kids why they're important.

"Too many kids think that it's OK to sit on the couch every day and play with a Nintendo or whatever, and that's an OK lifestyle. Part of the effort here is to educate them about why it's so necessary for their own health for them to get up and get active at least 60 minutes a day, and to make better food choices."

Abbott says if this pilot project has good results, it will be expanded to all 39 HISD middle schools.

In other business, the school board has raised the cost of reduced price lunches from 20 cents to 40 cents, because of higher fuel prices and rising food costs.ξ Abbott says this will not affect the free breakfast program. Breakfast will continue to be served free of charge to all students every day.ξ

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.

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