Pasco schools strive toward healthier rewards, but more work remains
When it comes to combating childhood obesity, Florida schools get loads of attention for their efforts to get kids moving with added physical activity.
Less noticed is their progress toward eliminating high-sugar, high-fat snacks as fund raisers and class rewards or incentives -- goals promoted by the Alliance for a Healther Generation for the past several years.
Pasco County schools slowly are making gains in this area, the district's Wellness Policy Council finds.
According to the council's annual status report (attached below), 53 percent of schools had moved their fundraisers away from selling food, up from 33 percent a year earlier. 48 percent of schools had adopted policies to offer non-food incentives or rewards (up slightly from 46 percent), with another 44 percent of schools developing such guidelines.
When food was offered as an incentive, 52 percent of Pasco schools were offering snacks that met the Alliance's nutritional suggestions.
These are positive steps, the council said. But in its recommendations, it made clear the district must "work towards providing more resources to schools for healthy alternatives for fundraising, celebrations, rewards, and special events."
Does that mean the end of using M&M's as math manipulatives and Tootsie Rolls as prizes in P.E. scavenger hunts? (Yes, we've seen that.) Perhaps, although schools are open to flexibility so they don't anger parents who want nothing more than to send cookies (packaged only, no homemade) for junior's classroom birthday celebration.
What have you seen in your schools? Are kids returning from recess to get sugar-fueled rewards for answering questions correctly?
(Photo from ehow.com)