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Lacey elementary schools honored with 'Healthiest Schools' designation

The schools honored give younger students an hour of recess a day and incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables in every lunch.

LACEY, Wash. — Two elementary schools in Lacey are being recognized from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for encouraging students to have healthier eating and behavior habits on campus. 

The organization named Evergreen Forest Elementary and Mountain View Elementary to the 2019 list of "America’s Healthiest Schools." Both of the elementary schools are in the North Thurston Public Schools District. 

More than 350 schools from 23 states were on the list.

“Our staff cheered when we found out because they know the hard work we put into it,” said Stephanie Hollinger, principal at Evergreen Forest Elementary.

Hollinger's school was honored for giving the younger students an hour of recess a day.

The national average is less than 30 minutes, according to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

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Evergreen Forest Elementary students also take regular breaks in the middle of class to exercise and fresh fruits and vegetables are part of every lunch.

“This isn't a school where they come in and just sit and read and write and do math all day long. We are consistently focusing on social development and physical development," said Hollinger.

The Healthier Generation organization has a team of school health experts that evaluate schools based on their ability to serve healthier meals and snacks, get students moving more, offer high-quality health and physical education, and support staff wellness. 

All of the schools that made the "America's Healthiest Schools" list meet or exceed federal nutrition standards, offer breakfast daily, incorporate physical activity before, during or after the school day, implement district-wide wellness policies, and involve parents and community members in decision-making. 

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“We are thrilled to see another strong showing of dedicated schools that are taking steps to create healthier school environments that support children’s physical, social, and emotional health,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  

All of America’s Healthiest Schools participate in Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, one of the nation’s largest school-based childhood obesity prevention initiatives.