Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNS) Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Janey Thornton, left, participates in the inaugural International School Meals Day at Harmony Hills Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD, on Friday, March 8, 2013. Mr. Damien Grasso's 5th grade class, tasting reduced fat, reduced salt taco meals in the foreground, was paired with Mrs. Karen McAllisterâs class at Dalry Primary School in North Ayrshire, United Kingdom, on screen, using a real-time online video connection; the children are able to share some of the healthy eating and physical activity choices available to them. The Dalry fitness program includes Zumba classes, and Harmony Hills includes a Fitness Club. Both schools have soccer programs. The Harmony Hills 5th grade students shared their thoughts about their healthy menu items, mango, kiwi, and hummus. The Dalry students honored the Maryland students, by having a Southern Maryland dessert, Smith Island cake (that features 7 thin cake layers). Initially, 14 classrooms (grades 3-8) in the U.S. are now connected with 14 classrooms in Scotland. USDA plans to expand the initiative to include partnerships with additional countries in future years. Harmony Hills also participates in the Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA), In-Classroom breakfast program, the fresh fruit and vegetable program, and the summer food service program. âThis event helps underscore the importance of the HealthierUS School Challenge and some of the ways that children and communities can become involved with promoting nutrition,â said Dr. Thornton. âUSDA believes that schools can take a leadership role in combating childhood obesity by incorporating healthier menus and introducing more physical activities during the school day. The strong foundation these schools have built supports a clear path for our nation's young people to win the future.' USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs that work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Learn more by visiting www.fns.usda.gov and twitter @USDANutrition. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
April 30, 2014