NEW YORK, June 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Adding to the fight for children's health, a network of six NYC charter schools are tackling the nation's growing health concerns—chiefly, the childhood obesity epidemic and chronic diseases related to it—by embracing Meatless Mondays.
"Meatless Mondays is an important initiative that addresses the current health crisis hitting children by bringing nutritious choices to students and opening them up to healthy foods they might not otherwise try," said Carl Icahn, corporate investor and Icahn Charter Schools' namesake and founder.
Meatless Mondays is an effective way of getting students excited about nutrition and focuses on the multiple benefits of increasing our consumption of fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins. The national campaign is backed by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and The Humane Society of the United States, as well as K-12 schools, universities, hospitals, and restaurants nationwide. Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney and Chef Mario Batali have joined the movement as well.
Superintendent of Icahn Charter Schools, Jeffrey Litt, said, "We are embarking on changing the way children, parents and teachers think about their basic necessity-food. We will teach children about healthy choices and introduce them to foods they are most probably unaware of. We will play a significant role in addressing childhood obesity and the damage caused by poor food selections. This is a continuation of our moral and professional responsibility."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years and the American Heart Association states that one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese. Increasing plant-based foods and decreasing the saturated animal fats and cholesterol found in meat, dairy and eggs is key to combatting obesity and the multiple health risks associated with it.
Icahn Charter Schools is working with SchoolFood, NYC Department of Education's food service provider, to offer students all meat-free menu items on Mondays, starting in September. "Education is more than academics. Securing a healthy future is what we all want for our children and this program is designed to encourage just that," said Gail Golden, President of the Board of the Icahn Charter Schools.
SOURCE Icahn Charter Schools