WARREN, Mich. – Seventeen Michigan schools are receiving salad bars to increase fresh, healthy options courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and United Fresh Start Foundation. The salad bars are part of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which provides equipment and resources to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Since 2015, 91 salad bars have been placed in Michigan schools through this partnership. “We at Blue Cross are proud to continue this collaborative effort that has empowered more than 45,000 Michigan students statewide to make healthier choices at school,’” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy, Government and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Research conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts has found that school salad bars are one the most effective school-based intervention strategies to increase students’ fruit and vegetable consumption. Salad bars also help schools comply with the National School Lunch Program’s nutrition standards, which require offering a colorful variety of vegetable options each week. “This partnership demonstrates the value of collaboration with like-minded organizations to benefit our children and empower their healthy choices each day,” said Tom Stenzel, President & CEO, United Fresh Produce Association. “When a school implements a salad bar, in addition to offering fresh choices, it’s often the catalyst for a conversation amongst students, teachers, parents and the community, about choosing more fresh fruits and vegetables for better health, whether that’s at school, shopping at the grocery store or while dining out,” added Stenzel. Michigan schools receiving salad bars from the 2019-2020 collaboration, include: • Ross Beatty High School, Cassopolis • Marquette Elementary-Middle School, Detroit • Genesee STEM Academy, Flint • Mott Middle College High School, Flint • International Academy of Flint, Flint • Amerman Elementary School, Northville • Ridge Wood Elementary School, Northville • Conner Creek Academy East Elementary, Roseville • Stone Elementary School, Saginaw • Chester Miller Elementary School, Saginaw • New Bedford Academy, Southfield • Sterling Elementary, Standish • Mound Park Elementary School, Warren • Chatterton Middle School, Warren • Fitzgerald High School, Warren • Universal Learning Academy, Westland • Estabrook Early Learning, Ypsilanti Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is dedicated to helping schools establish environments that support health. Building Healthy Communities is a school-based initiative celebrating its’ 10th anniversary fighting childhood obesity and creating healthier school environments across the state. Since 2009, the program has helped more than 340,000 students in more than 750 schools learn to make healthier choices and be more physically active. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S9UYreofbc&feature=youtu.be The United Fresh Start Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization focused exclusively on increasing children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Affiliated with the United Fresh Produce Association, a leading trade association for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, the Foundation is committed to helping today’s kids achieve the public health goal to make half their plate fruits and vegetables in order to live longer and healthier lives. The Foundation works to create an environment in which kids have easy access to high-quality, great-tasting and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, whenever and wherever they are choosing snacks or a meal. The United Fresh Start Foundation is also founding partner of the national Salad Bars to Schools initiative. More information is available at: http://www.unitedfreshstart.org/. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.
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