New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks, and Mayor’s Office of Food Policy (MOFP) Executive Director Kate MacKenzie today unveiled “Prioritizing Food Education in Our Public Schools: A Path to Developing a Healthy Next Generation” — a comprehensive roadmap to improving food education in New York City’s public school system. The report identifies specific goals, strategies, and key performance indicators that will ensure students across the city learn healthy eating habits, and how each component of our food system interacts with the climate, economy, and local community.
“New York City is leading the way in healthy food, eating, and lifestyles — and I am proud to announce the next step in our journey: New York City’s first ever food education roadmap,” said Mayor Adams. “I know the power of healthy eating firsthand: Switching to a plant-based diet reversed the effects of my type 2 diabetes and saved my eyesight. With this roadmap, we’re going to teach our children how to eat better — building healthier schools, healthier communities, and a healthier city for all New Yorkers.”
“New York City public schools are national leaders in public education, including and especially in nutrition and meal services. We are proud of the work we’ve done so far to expand options for our young people, and I am thrilled to be embarking on this next step to further help educate students on healthy eating habits that they will take with them throughout their lives,” said DOE Chancellor Banks. “I’m grateful to Mayor Adams for prioritizing this work to ensure a healthier future for our communities.”
“Food education throughout a child’s career in New York City’s public schools is essential,” said MOFP Executive Director MacKenzie. “Through comprehensive food education, students can build an understanding of food’s role in our many cultures, our relationships, our history, and our environment. This knowledge can empower our children to make healthy choices and achieve success inside the classroom and beyond. With the release of this roadmap, this administration is deepening its commitment to uplifting the health and wellbeing of all our students.”
“Beyond nutrition education, New York City public schools are already taking actionable steps towards sustainability and cultural responsiveness in our meal programs,” said DOE Office of Food and Nutrition Services Senior Executive Director Chris Tricarico. “This roadmap verbalizes these important commitments, and will help guide us towards a greener, healthier, and more responsive tomorrow. Our Office of Food and Nutrition Services is excited to continue to work alongside our agency partners on this important effort.”
The report released today highlights the critical importance of food education in building lifelong healthy habits, and helping students become better learners. Healthy eating habits are associated with a myriad of health benefits and reduce the risk of developing chronic diet-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. They are also associated with higher cognitive functioning, reduced absenteeism, improved mood, and stronger academic performance.
The report identifies three goals for improving food education across all New York City public schools:
Helping students build knowledge about healthy eating and wellness;
Providing greater access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate meals in schools; and
Empowering members of school communities, including parents, educators, food service workers, and administrators, to be wellness ambassadors.
The report outlines nine strategies to achieve these goals, as well as 30 key performance indicators to track ongoing progress. These strategies include developing a “Food Education Guidebook” to inform principal decisions on programming, expanding alternative meal options, including halal kitchens, prioritizing capital improvements to school kitchens and cafeterias, and more.
“Building healthy eating habits early is essential for our student’s development and making them better learners,” said U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler. “I’m pleased to support this initiative to raise nutritional awareness among young New Yorkers and our school communities.”
“Eating healthy foods and getting proper nutrition is essential to improving a student’s academic performance, leading to fewer absences, increasing thinking skills and bettering behavior,” said New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. “It’s important that we implement these healthy eating habits early so they can become a lifestyle that continues into adulthood. I commend the mayor and the DOE for outlining important goals for expanding and advancing food education across all New York City public schools.”
nyc.gov/June 06, 2023