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August 25, 2020

Healthier Generation Celebrates School Leaders Addressing Student Health Needs Relevant During COVID-19 Crisis

National nonprofit recognizes over 500 schools implementing best practices in nutrition and physical activity

(August 25, 2020) – The Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation), one of the nation’s preeminent children’s health organizations, is honoring 518 schools across the nation – 78% of which serve students from under-resourced communities – for promoting quality nutrition, regular physical activity and strong wellness policies.  

Though the submission data for this year’s list – recognized annually as “America’s Healthiest Schools” – was gathered prior to COVID-19-related school closures, schools that leveraged these strong foundations in wellness were positioned to prioritize healthy habits throughout the pandemic; for example: 

  • Preparing and distributing free, healthy meals to families 
  • Offering virtual, healthy cooking classes 
  • Hosting interactive physical education classes online 
  • Creating virtual community-based events to raise funds for local food pantries and essential services 
  • Establishing rotating schedules to tend to and harvest fresh produce from school gardens 
  • Distributing online social-emotional and mental health resources to students, families and staff 

For nearly 15 years, Healthier Generation’s annual recognition program has honored schools that are implementing best practices that support children’s learning and development, including meeting or exceeding federal standards for nutritious school meals and providing regular opportunities for students and staff to be active throughout the school day. It remains one of the country’s longest-running, nationwide recognition programs honoring schools for achievements in nutrition, physical activity and wellness policies. 

“We commend this cohort of school leaders for prioritizing the essential health needs of students and staff in a time of great challenge and with limited resources at their disposal,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “Over time, these awardees established strong foundations in health – allowing them to pivot and adapt to meet acute health and wellness needs in a year unlike any other.” 

“School leaders play a critical role in supporting children’s health,” said Donna Mazyck, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). “NASN believes that good nutrition, regular physical activity and social-emotional wellness are key building blocks to academic success, and we applaud this cohort of schools for their commitment to helping students thrive.”    

Healthier Generation’s work with schools is supported by American Electric Power, The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Fullerton Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Kohl’s, Mary Black Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Saint Luke’s Foundation, Sanford Harmony and Sleep Number.  

To view the complete list of awardees, visit HealthiestSchools.org.    

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About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation  

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation believes every child deserves a healthy future. For over a decade, Healthier Generation has empowered kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them provide and promote good health. Driven by our passion that all young people deserve a chance to live healthier lives, our work, in total, has reached more than 29 million kids across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit HealthierGeneration.org and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Correction: An earlier version of this release listed 517 award-winning schools. A data error was uncovered that resulted in the need to update the count to 518.

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Megan Walcek

Marketing and Communications Manager
Alliance for a Healthier Generation