ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today accepted a $25,000 state grant to fund a Healthy Meals for Healthy Families program at Carlin Springs Elementary School.
The program will include weekly hands-on classes in healthy food preparation and healthy eating for at-risk third, fourth and fifth graders and their families.
“Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children are overweight or obese,” said County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. That is why we are excited about winning this grant, which will fund a program at Carlin Springs Elementary that will not only educate our children and families – but ultimately change behaviors to promote life-long healthy eating and healthy living.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity to teach our students about making positive choices that will help them and their families lead a healthier lifestyle,” said Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. “This grant will help us meet a key indicator in Goal 5 of our Strategic Plan by providing students with health and wellness information, best practices and opportunities to develop lifelong healthy habits, and opportunities for physical activity and healthy food choices.”
Participants in the cooking class program will learn practical nutrition tips; how and where to purchase healthy and affordable raw ingredients; how to make meals that are both healthy and tasty; how to prepare meals safely, and the benefits of family meals. The bilingual classes are expected to start in the late winter or early spring of 2013. The project will conclude June 30, 2013 and will produce a curriculum and other educational resources that can be shared with other schools and groups interested in healthy eating and reducing pediatric obesity.
Grant Funding, Partners
The Arlington County Public Health Division of the Department of Human Services won the $25,000 competitive grant from the Virginia Department of Health’s Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Program, which helps elementary school children and their families improve nutritional and dietary practices and reduce pediatric obesity. Public Health is partnering with Arlington Public Schools, the Capital Area Food Bank, the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families, the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation, and Carlin Springs Elementary School.
Dr. Samuel Stebbins, Arlington County Public Health Physician
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.