LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) unveiled its "I'M IN" campaign at one of its brand new campuses, Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School, on Aug. 29, 2011. "I'M IN" is an exciting all-inclusive program designed to raise awareness about the District's healthy meals to help fight childhood obesity, as well as to encourage student attendance and dropout prevention. The campaign is an invitation to the entire community to make healthy choices and support educational proficiency for all students. The District, which serves more than 650,000 meals daily, will release a new student-driven menu with a wellness program that will tie in proper eating and regular exercise.
"'I'M IN' is how students prepare outside the classroom to be at their best inside the classroom," says LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy. "'I'M IN' is the promise students make to themselves to eat right, exercise, and get their proper rest so they can achieve great things in school."
"I'M IN" will connect with students, parents, community groups, administrators, teachers and other L.A.-based organizations by asking them to get involved and help support the movement. The five-year program will include celebrity-sponsored student and community activities, public service announcements, food tasting events, social media, and traditional advertising in billboards, radio and print publications.
"I'm honored that the District has chosen a beautiful new school in Board District 7 to kick off the 'I'M IN' Campaign," says LAUSD Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. "The message – eat right, exercise regularly, and get proper rest – is extremely important for the students here today and throughout the District."
The campaign is supported by the LAUSD, Los Angeles County Renew LA Grant, and the District's category supply partners including Tyson Foods Inc., McCain Foods Limited, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Don Lee Farms, the California Milk Advisory Board, Driftwood Dairy, Gold Star Foods and Five-Star Gourmet Foods, Inc. To improve purchasing cost efficiencies, the major supply partners have agreed to a five-year agreement rather than the usual annual purchasing review. And because of the program's importance, these suppliers have offered logistical support during outreach.
"Our food partners are familiar household names," says Dennis Barrett, LAUSD Director of Food Services. "The school meals are the same quality name-brand foods that parents buy at the supermarket. Good nutrition and great taste are never mutually exclusive and we have a new menu that not only scored very well in student taste tests, but reflects the rich diversity of L.A. by adding ethnic foods that students enjoy."
Studies show that providing nutritious, well-balanced meals are key to students' academic successes. Students who don't have proper nutrition have shorter attention spans and lower test scores in school.
The District is currently expanding healthy nutritional policies through a portion of a recent $15.9 million grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative, administered through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) RENEW LA County initiative.
"Providing healthy food and beverage options at school meals, along with education on healthy eating and active living, have the potential to improve the health of students, reduce rates of childhood and adolescent obesity, and improve academic performance," says Dr. Paul Simon, MD, MPH, Director of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "These benefits are likely to be long lasting as healthy behaviors adopted in childhood often continue into adulthood, resulting in decreased risk of chronic diseases and the costs associated with these preventable diseases."
LAUSD's Food Services Division provides year round meals for students and has the largest breakfast program in the country. It currently serves more 123 million meals each year. The LAUSD menu meets and exceeds the USDA guidelines and the Institute of Medicine's nutrient recommendations.
For more information on the "I'M IN" campaign, visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/ImInLAUSD.
SOURCE Los Angeles Unified School District