Chattanooga, TN – The Center for Disease Control has developed a Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) to encourage healthier lifestyles in the youth of America. CSHP centers on 8 components which include health education, physical education, health services, nutrition services, counseling and psychological services, healthy school environment, healthy educators and staff, and community involvement. In Hamilton County, integrating all of these components is the task of Russell Cliche and will depend on collaborations and partnerships within the school system and in the community.
The Director of School Nutrition, Carolyn Childs, is working with Cliche to promote improved nutrition by incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into student diets. Gaining Ground initiated by the Benwood Foundation is helping to fund this program which includes bringing fresh produce into the classroom and not just the cafeteria. Students will get to sample fresh produce, learn about the nutritional impact of the food, and also learn how to bring this information home so they can continue to enjoy local fresh produce.
Bringing in the families is crucial to integrating these foods into the home environment. The Coordinated School Health and School Nutrition offices will be hosting Chef Nights in certain schools across the county to demonstrate how to prepare and cook meals using fresh produce. Information will also be provided specific to each school location on where to purchase these foods.
According to the Tennessee Department of Education, healthier students perform better academically and these programs are designed to improve student and school performance all across the state.