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HOTL meets national healthy school challenge

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Heart of the Lakes Elementary School in Perham has made national news by working to support and improve the health of its students.

It was announced last week that the school qualified for a Silver Award through the HealthierUS School Challenge. The award brings with it a monetary incentive of $1,000, a plaque signed by a USDA official, a banner to hang up at the school, and more.

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A celebration is planned during Family Fun Night, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29.

As part of the HealthierUS School Challenge, HOTL is featuring healthy items on its breakfast and lunch menus, and emphasizing physical education and activity.

The challenge is a voluntary national certification initiative for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. It supports First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign by recognizing schools that are creating healthier school environments.

Sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the initiative encourages all schools to take a leadership role in helping students make healthier eating and physical activity choices.

Schools like HOTL champion the HealthierUS School Challenge, working hard to make changes to their school nutrition environment in order to improve the quality of the foods served, provide students with nutrition education, and provide students with physical education and opportunities for physical activity.

Ultimately, the Food and Nutrition Service would like to see all schools receive a HealthierUS award at any one of the four levels of superior performance: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Gold Award of Distinction.

To qualify for an award, a school must submit a formal application and meet basic criteria set forth by the Food and Nutrition Service.

HealthierUS Schools must also have a local school wellness policy, as mandated by Congress. Schools receiving an award commit to meeting the criteria throughout their four-year certification period.

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