Back to School in Boston

This week  is back-to-school time in Boston Public Schools (BPS), and we’re excited to be working in 18 schools across the city! Check out where you can find City Connects in Boston here. Across the US, according to IES, about 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools beginning this fall.

Today, BPS announced it would be providing universal free lunch to all students, regardless of their income level. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in a Boston Globe article (“Without paperwork, school lunch free in Boston“):

“Every child has a right to healthy, nutritious meals in school, and when we saw a chance to offer these healthy meals at no cost to them, we jumped at the chance. This takes the burden of proof off our low-income families and allows all children, regardless of income, to know healthy meals are waiting for them at school every day.”

For more information:

Study Examines Family Meals & Nutrition in Low-income Households

A new study by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows that low-income families often fall short in reaching adequate nutrition in their diets. The paper, published in the Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, looked at family meal patterns of 100 low-income families in Nebraska and examined the relationship between the frequency of family meals and nutritional intake. More than 100 low-income families’ eating patterns were measured, and their meals were assessed for nutritional value to determine how certain meal patterns could lead to more nutritious diets.

A majority of families in the study said they usually ate a family dinner at least five times a week, but only ate together four or fewer times a week at breakfast and lunch. Researchers said increasing the frequency of family breakfasts would have big effects on important parts of the diet — the more often families ate breakfast together, the better their intake would be with foods from the milk group, fruits and fruit juices, in particular. They also recommend that families be educated about the importance of family meals and the positive impact it has on children’s nutrition.

For more information:

  • Read the release from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Read the full text (pdf) of the study

Third-graders Embrace Healthy Lifestyle with “Chop Chop” Magazine

Chop Chop magazineThis month, with the support of the New Balance Foundation, City Connects site coordinators distributed the health-focused kids’ magazine “Chop Chop” to all City Connects third-graders–nearly 1,000 students.

ChopChop is a quarterly food magazine for children and their families aiming to educate kids about how to cook and be nutritionally literate, empower them to actively participate as health partners with their families, and help establish and support better eating habits for a lifetime of good nutrition. The magazine features nutritious, ethnically diverse, and inexpensive recipes, as well as interesting food facts, Q&A’s, and games.

City Connects Health  Coordinator Rachel Garcia reported back after distributing the publication to the third-graders at the JFK school:

I meet with the 3rd grade classes on Friday. They were very excited to get a magazine, and as soon as I handed them out, they wanted to browse through them immediately. I did a quick picture walk through the magazines and they seemed very interested in the different types of content inside. They also loved the illustrations, especially the one of the carrot and pea boxing– it was depicting which had more vitamin content.

For more information:

  • On Twitter, follow Chop Chop magazine @ChopChopMag and New Balance @NewBalance