America's Healthiest Schools: Loma Vista Middle School
Loma Vista Middle School was named one of America’s Healthiest Schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The school met stringent standards set by the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program for serving healthier meals and snacks, getting students moving more, offering high-quality physical and health education and empowering school leaders to become healthy role models. Aside from home, kids spend most of their time at school, making schools important places to influence kids’ behavior and lifelong health habits. Research shows that healthy students learn better.
While Loma Vista Middle School has always had a strong physical activity program, they are grateful to have had the help of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to successfully implement changes in their school nutrition program, while still upholding their stringent physical activity standards.
This year, Loma Vista started a garden where they planted, grew and harvested six different vegetables to showcase and sample at their “Family Fun Night.” Loma Vista students were also able to learn more about where food comes from through a gardening curriculum, which helped to get them excited to try new fruits and vegetables that they had a hand in growing. The school nutrition department also hosted four taste tests using locally grown fruits. The school has also increased participation in their breakfast program by offering weekly healthy smoothies. These nutritious options, together with an emphasis on moving each day through physical activity breaks, athletics and healthy family nights, have had a huge impact on the Loma Vista student body.
“The Healthy Schools Program had a HUGE impact in our school achieving our wellness goals. We have seen our health and wellness focus have a positive impact on our students in the areas of academics, healthy eating and physical fitness,” said Physical Education Teacher Patti Suppe. Loma Vista’s school-wide GPA has increased from 2.69 to 2.81; there has been an overwhelming increase, from 27 to 51 percent, of students who consume two or more fruits and three or more vegetables each day; and 83 percent of students are engaging in the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.