Philadelphia highlights a nutrition program that has moved its focus beyond the classroom

Mike DeNardo
February 07, 2019 - 4:00 am
The School District of Philadelphia Headquarters.

KYW Newsradio, file

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia school district Thursday highlights a nutrition program that has moved its focus beyond the classroom.

A 2017 district survey showed 26 percent of students said they hadn't eaten any fruits and 28 percent had no vegetables the previous day.

The district's director of nutrition education, Lauren Nocito, says there's a connection between learning and health. 

She says a program called "Eat Right Philly" aims to address that.  

It teaches students about a healthy diet through lessons and tastings, encourages more kids to take advantage of school breakfasts and helps schools to establish movement breaks throughout the school day.  

Nocito says with produce stands at 25 schools, the program also makes it more convenient for families to get fruits and vegetables.

"Our program has been able to bring produce stands directly to the schools. So they happen out on the sidewalk either at the beginning of the school day or at the end of the school day when parents are typically dropping their student off or picking them up," Nocito said.

The federally funded program has been around for 20 years.  

It was originally named "Eat. Right. Now." but at the beginning of this school year the district changed the name of the program to "Eat Right Philly," dropping the "Now" to reflect the promotion of healthy behaviors students can use all of their lives.