For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 10, 2008  

Illinois schools encourage healthy eating under federal fresh fruit & vegetable program

25 schools receive a total of $250,000 to encourage students to eat more fruits & vegetables; Students will have access to more healthy eating choices – inside and outside the classroom

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that 25 schools statewide will receive more than $250,000 to buy additional fresh fruits and vegetables for students during the 2008-2009 school year. The federally funded Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP) is designed to increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables by students.

“One of the most important lessons we can teach our students is the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including good nutrition and plenty of exercise,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “This program can have a significant, lifelong impact on our students.”

The federal program provides all students in participating schools access to a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day. It allows schools to make available the additional produce anytime during the regular school day – both inside and outside the cafeteria. The idea is to expose students to lifelong healthy eating habits. For example, schools can incorporate nutrition education into numerous daily classroom activities such as math, health, geography and science, by developing lesson plans involving fruits and vegetables.

According to the Fruits & Vegetables – More Matters, a public health initiative sponsored by Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half of all elementary students nationwide eat no fruit on any given day and one-quarter of all vegetables eaten by elementary students are French fries. The national initiative encourages children and adults alike to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends children eat at least one-and-half cups of fruits and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables everyday.

The USDA first piloted the program in 2002 and it was recently expanded to include all states for the 2008-2009 school year. More than 50 schools statewide applied for the program. Each school will be reimbursed on a monthly basis for allowable expenses up to the school’s total awarded amount. The fresh produce purchased under this program cannot be used to replace fruits or vegetables already being served to students at breakfast or lunch.

The 25 schools participating in the program are:

For additional information on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, including nutritional tips and recipes for parents, visit: