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USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge

Recognizing Nutrition Excellence in Schools

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HealthierUS School Challenge
Obesity is a growing concern for school children in the United States. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) believes that schools should be taking a leadership role in helping students learn to make healthy eating and active lifestyle choices. Many schools have already made changes to their school nutrition environments, improved the quality of the foods served, and now provide students with more nutritious, healthy choices. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) wants to encourage schools to achieve such results, and has established the HealthierUS School Challenge to encourage schools to go further and to recognize those who chose to do so.

HealthierUS Schools
HealthierUS Schools can be certified as either Bronze, Silver, Gold or Gold with Distinction schools, according to standards established by FNS. The objective is to recognize schools that take specific steps to improve their programs and address obesity and to encourage other schools to follow their lead. Ultimately, FNS would like to see all schools take the challenge! Click this link to see a list of National Award Winners in Kansas.

Link opens in new windowUSDA's HealthierUS School Challenge website provides the application packet and other information to assist applicants.

FNS has developed application packets that detail criteria that must be met for the four award level designations. The application packets request specific information to verify a school's adherence to the criteria. The school's completed application packet must be evaluated by a local review panel, and endorsed by the school's leadership, including its principal.
USDA FNS website for the HealthierUS School Challenge Application.

HealthierUS School Challenge Webinar Series
KSDE Child Nutrition & Wellness has established a HUSSC webinar series to provide training webinars and accompanying resources to assist schools in meeting HUSSC requirements.  Click the blue diamonds in front of the webinars to view recorded versions. Go to to join upcoming webinars. Each webinar wil begin at 2 p.m. on the day indicated.
Keeping Physical Activity Fun
Keeping Physical Activity Fun - 12/17/13
Using Smarter Lunchroom Techniques
Using Smarter Lunchroom Techniques - 01/21/14
School Fundraising Using Non-Food Items
School Fundraising Using Non-Food Items - 02/18/14
Providing Opportunities for Physical Acitvity Throughout the School Day
Providing Opportunities for Physical Activity Throughout the School Day - 03/18/14
Nutrition Education Excellence - Available Resources
Nutrition Education Excellence - Available Resources - 04/15/14
2014 HUSSC Criteria Overview
2014 HUSSC Criteria Overview - 09/16/14
Prohibiting the Use of Food as a Reward Webinar
Prohibiting the Use of Food as a Reward - 10/22/14
Increasing Average Daily Participation
Increasing Average Daily Participation - 11/18/14
Value of Team Nutrition
Value of Team Nutrition - 12/16/14
Best Practices in School Breakfast Outreach Webinar
Best Practices in School Breakfast Outreach - 01/20/15
Farm to School Initiatives Webinar
Farm to School Initiatives - 02/17/15
Summer Food Service Program Outreach - 03/24/15
Implementing School Wellness Policies
Implementing School Wellness Policies - 04/21/15

Take the Challenge!

  • Review the criteria and instructions, and other resources, to assist you in completing your application
  • Download the application packet
  • Convene a review panel
  • Complete the review
  • Obtain the required approvals and signatures
  • Submit the completed application packet to Child Nutrition & Wellness, KSDE as explained under Submission Procedure
  • Certification as a HealthierUS School is for 4 years, from the date of approval.
KSDE is here to help throughout the entire application process! Attend KSDE's interactive workshop "Take the HealthierUS School Challenge" to learn about the requirements and to get one-on-one assistance. Also, KSDE has Registered Dietitians ready to help you throughout the entire application process. Contact Emily Brinkman at or 785-296-2276 for more information.

Submission Procedure
The school's completed application packet should be sent to Child Nutrition & Wellness, Kansas State Department of Education, Landon State Office Building, 900 SW Jackson Street, Suite 251, Topeka, Kansas 66612. KSDE will evaluate and forward the application packet to the USDA FNS Regional Office.

FNS will review all completed applications and award schools that successfully meet the Challenge with an appropriate recognition plaque. In addition, the recognized schools will be listed on the Team Nutrition Web site, may be chosen to be a part of special FNS media events and may receive other awards that promote and support the principles of the Challenge.


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