Improving school lunch by design

Oct. 16, 2013, The New York Times

By Courtney E. Martin

What if the secret to getting kids to eat healthier is to stop focusing on food?

In spring 2013, the San Francisco Unified School District (S.F.U.S.D.) began a five-month collaboration with the design firm IDEO to re-imagine the school food system. This effort might not sound unique. Childhood obesity has become a hot topic, in large part thanks to the first lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, and projects by high-profile chefs like Jamie Oliver and Alice Waters have aimed at getting fresh, healthy foods in schools.

In this case, however, the adults aren’t as concerned with what students are eating as they are with how they are eating.

“When adults dine, we don’t just think about the food,” explained Orla O’Keeffe, the executive director of policy and operations. “The food is important, but so is what’s going on around it: the ambience, the service, the company. Why would we assume kids are any different?” Continue reading

School design guidelines to help promote healthy eating published in CDC journal

A newly available pilot tool made possible through an innovative collaboration between architects, schools, and scientists is part of a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to improve school environments for children’s health by engaging new partners.

The Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture provides practitioners in architecture and public health and school system decision makers with a practical set of spatially organized and theory-based strategies for making school environments more conducive to learning about and practicing healthy eating behaviors. Continue reading

Video highlights school design enhancements through use of guidelines

The Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture, the result of an innovative collaboration between public health researchers and school architects, offers a practical set of strategies for creating and sustaining school food environments that ultimately decrease and prevent childhood obesity.

This video documents the story of Buckingham Elementary School in Dillwyn, Va., a school that did renovations using the design guidelines in order to improve its ability to adopt a healthy nutrition curriculum and promote healthy eating.

Watch the video below.