Experts describe efforts to improve nutrition

Examples of ideas that are working:

Marla Caplon

Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Montgomery County Schools

All of our [cafeteria] lines have fresh fruit. Fifty-one percent or more of our grains are whole grains. But it’s a struggle. When we were trying to adapt meals to folks that are following a vegan diet, we tried a spicy bean burger a few years ago. And, I have to tell you, it tasted good. But in order for kids to eat it, you had to blindfold them. They’d take a look, and it just shows that kids do eat with their eyes. Then, we tried a whole-grain hot-dog roll. We were kind of called un-American to do that. We believed that the kids, because they loved the hot dogs, would eat the whole-grain roll. Well, they wouldn’t, and we stood firm, and they wouldn’t, and we stood firm, and they didn’t. So, now we have a whole-grain hot-dog roll that’s white. And now the kids are eating it.

Alexis Glick CEO, Gen YOUth Foundation

There’s one woman who is my personal hero, Lisa Riley from Enslow Middle School [in West Virginia]. Many of you may recognize the name of that school — it had been highlighted in Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution,” and it was a very sad attack on how this particular district was one of the unhealthiest.

Lisa, who is sitting here, decided that there are many stakeholders. She saw that story and what it was doing to the kids’ confidence and said, “I’m going to do something about this with the kids.”

She engaged all the kids in a pledge that they would participate in “Fuel Up to Play 60.” When she engaged the community, in addition to the kids, they collectively decided: We’re going to make this pledge. And we’re going to, together, put on a pedometer and we’re going to make sure we’re getting active. They went on to the semifinals in the volleyball championship. Their slogan now is “Believing is the first step to achieving.”

Larry Kocot Health-care expert at the Brookings Institution and a founder of the Partnership for a Healthier America

The Partnership for a Healthier America was formed as a recognition that the government and the private sector must work together.

Wal-Mart came forward with a number of different initiatives. The first one was to reduce sodium by 25 percent in many foods by 2015, to reduce added sugar by 10 percent and to eliminate all [industrially produced] trans fat. People are just eating too much. If people would just remove four words from the marketing of food — “all you can eat” — we would go a long way to solving this problem.

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