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 Local School Recognized for After-School Health Program

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 students.

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 districts.

“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.