Deuce McAllister congratulates local school on healthy habits - - Jackson, MS

Deuce McAllister congratulates local school on healthy habits

By Ashley Conroy

BYRAM, Miss (WLBT) -- Byram Middle School was recognized with the "Gold Award" from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the HealthierUS School Challenge.

"To get schools to move to more healthy meals integrate physical education and physical activity as well as nutrition information," said USDA Deputy Secretary, Audrey Rowe for the Special Nutrition Programs in the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

This program was created in 2004 to recognize schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity.

Fellow Mississippian, retired New Orleans Saint, and former Ole Miss Running Back Deuce McAllister stopped by Byram to congratulate students on their efforts.

"This is the beginning of something hopefully Mississippi can be proud of and be known around the nation for," McAllister said.

The USDA says last year they moved the challenge from elementary students to middle school knowing that it would be more difficult. 

"Healthy eating, healthy lifestyles really make a difference for children as they learn what's to eat healthy," Rowe said.

Meantime, school principal David Campbell says to get the award they changed their lunch room diet and ensured that all students participate in physical education classes.

"It's easier than what you may think. Many times just looking at the menu and tweaking some of the offerings, adding more minutes to P. E." Campbell said.

The USDA says the nationwide obesity epidemic costs $150 billion dollars for related illnesses.

Mississippi continues to be the state with the highest obesity rate in the nation.

As students listened to this message, they hope to set an example for their peers and other throughout the state.

 "You should start before it's too late, so you won't become obese," said 8th grader Moriah Angren.

Fellow 8th grader, Cosby Burnet agreed. "We can make this a continuance and help grow other schools."

 To qualify for this award, the USDA says school must be a participant in the HealthierUS School Challenge.

Schools would need to submit a formal application and meet basic criteria on the agenda by the Food and Nutrition Service.

Schools must also offer meals that reflect a healthy lifestyle and ensure that students are participating in P. E. requirements.  

* FNS web site:


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