Thanks to the Indianapolis Colts, Jump IN for Healthy kids works with school districts in central Indiana to integrate school wellness policies that create healthier environments for children. The new two-year program, Jump Right UP, has just launched in four districts: MSD Pike, MSD Warren, IPS,, and MSD Lawrence. And we're getting noticed for it already. Read the IndyStar's Season of Sharing piece that just came out yesterday.
Regular readers of Jump IN's blog may remember a previous blog post highlighting our work in the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, a two-year, national competition among cities and counties to create the healthiest community. Our project focused on improving healthy environments to reduce childhood obesity in Greater Lawrence and the Far Eastside. Our work has included interventions in schools, child cares, and in helping increase access to healthy food. An important part of our food access work is a program we launched with support from the Glick Fund, the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative. We have an update on that work that we're excited to share with you.
Jump IN works closely with many schools to help teach good nutrition skills early in life. Research shows that instilling healthy and appropriate eating habits in children impacts their health as adults, so schools are ideal sites for food education. . In addition, balanced and healthy school meals improve student performance and behavior. Introducing kids to new fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can put them on track to become good eaters. We're excited to tell you about some of the great work coming out of MSD Warren and its commitment to improving its nutrition and physical activity policies.
More than 3.3 million children across the U.S. will eat healthier meals and snacks, thanks to recent revisions to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These new dietary rules and suggested best practices may serve as a useful guide for you, even if your program or child care facility does not participate in the subsidized program.
As designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), September is National Childhood Obesity Month. Nationally, roughly one in five children suffers from obesity. In central Indiana, those numbers are worse. Jump IN for Healthy Kids is focused on changing those numbers and helping children and families lead healthier lives.
At Jump IN, one of our focus areas is early childhood education. Very young children who learn healthy habits around nutrition and physical activity are more likely to be at a healthy weight as they get older. Conversely, preschoolers who are overweight or obese are five times more likely to become overweight or obese as adults. Equally troubling, the prevalence of obesity among U.S. preschoolers has doubled in recent decades and keeps getting worse.
Child care providers tell us that they would prefer to serve healthy food in their centers and homes, but the expense is a constant barrier. We are always working to find lower-cost ways to access healthy food, and we have a resource we are happy to share, the Healthier Generation Store with Amazon Business. It's an online marketplace for purchasing food that meets CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program) guidelines. The Store currently stocking non-perishables and plans to expand to produce, meat and dairy, to eventually be a full-service store for child care providers. Because it's available across the country, it offers lower prices and free delivery anywhere with a minimum $25 purchase. And because it's connected to Amazon, providers can add on to their order other items they may need, also for delivery - everything that Amazon offers.
The things that children learn when they're young provide stepping stones for the rest of their lives. This is why it is so important for children to learn and practice healthy behaviors in positive environments from the start. Childcare facilities are the perfect places to provide healthy foundations for children, and we have 3 easy practices to help you get started on making health and wellness a priority in your childcare facility.
As summer starts to wind down and the school year begins to get closer, the realities of school lunches creep closer as well. School lunches are a hot topic, and it's not hard to see why. For many students, school lunch represents a big portion of the food they consume daily. In recent years, many new health initiatives have been put in place to create healthier and tastier options for students eating at school, but many school lunches are still far from perfect.
What is a school wellness policy?
In 2004, Congress passed a law stating that each local educational agency (including school districts) that participates in the National School Lunch Program, or any other federal child nutrition program, is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction.