Eight Andover schools got shout-outs last month for their nutritious ways.
Bancroft, Sanborn, South, West Middle, High Plain, Wood Hill Middle, West Elementary and Doherty Middle schools were all presented with the Healthier US School Challenge awards at a recent School Committee meeting.
The Healthier US School Challenge awards, earned by just 6 percent of the nation’s schools, were established by the USDA in 2004 to recognize schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity.
With obesity a growing health concern for children in the U.S., the USDA believes that schools can take a leadership role in helping students learn to make healthier eating and active lifestyle choices.
Local officials say Andover schools have committed to meeting the criteria. The local schools are now serving meals that emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains and include fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products as well as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts that are low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars and are also trans-fats free, according to Ruthy Olney, Andover’s assistant school nutrition director.
The awards were presented by USDA Regional Administrator James Arena-DeRosa; Kathleen C. Millett, executive director of the Office for Nutrition, Health, and Safety Programs with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; and Mary Joan McLarney, MS, RD, nutritionist with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
A reception followed the presentation in the School Administration Building.