A San Diego County school recently won a Distinguished After
School Health (DASH) program certificate, which recognizes programs that excel
in providing health education, nutrition, and physical activities for their
Julian Pathways Center in the Julian
Union School District was one of 187 schools the California Department of
Education (CDE) recognized across the state with the new award.
The list is posted on the CDE Web site
and will help parents and students locate and apply to DASH programs in their school
“These terrific after school programs show students the many
benefits of good nutrition and exercise and will help our students achieve
success,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said.
“Students who eat right and stay fit will do better in class.”
In 2014, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) authored
SB 949, which required CDE to develop a process for determining DASH standards
and recognition. CDE assembled a panel of volunteers to screen the applications
for alignment with the goals outlined in Jackson’s legislation.
“I am excited that this program is now underway, and I
congratulate these after school programs that have made healthy eating and
exercise a priority,” Jackson said. “Parents also will now have the ability to
make more informed choices about their children’s after school care.”
DASH programs limit the amount of play time students spend
on computer screens, serve healthy meals and drinks, and require 30 minutes to
an hour of daily exercise.
Torlakson said DASH programs will help students learn about
the lifelong benefits of good health habits and exercise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
about 12.5 million children and adolescents between two to nineteen years old
nationwide are obese. Overweight youth face increased risks for many serious
health conditions that do not commonly occur during childhood, including high
cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. More than 80 percent of obese adolescents
remain obese as adults. With this new recognition program aimed at health and
exercise, more after school sites may be inclined to participate, which in turn
may help to combat these statistics.