Published on 10/20/11

Dole, Georgia Lt. Gov. and 4-H join forces to make school meals healthier

By Sharon Dowdy

Three Georgia high schools will win salad bars for their cafeterias through the Raise the Salad Bar contest.

The contest is presented by Dole Food Company, Inc. in partnership with Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s Healthy Kids Georgia project and Georgia 4-H.

Tackling obesity

Healthy Kids Georgia was formed in 2010 to address childhood obesity in the state. By working with educational leaders from across the state, the program teaches children nutritious school lunch options, increased daily physical activity and the importance of healthy living.

“Health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and low self-esteem all have the effect of holding our children back and keeping them from reaching their true potential,” Cagle said. “Georgia’s youths deserve to be given the tools to live a happy and healthy life, and we have the opportunity through our schools to lead by example in teaching our children wellness and proper nutrition.”

In Georgia, childhood obesity has reached an epidemic level, with nearly a quarter of students considered obese by the time they are in third grade. Healthy Kids Georgia was developed to fight this epidemic.

Healthy kids become healthy adults

“Teaching healthy habits and showing young people that fruits and vegetables can be tasty is a key step in maintaining good eating habits in adults,” said Marty Ordman, vice president of marketing and communications for Dole.

To win a salad bar for their school, high school students must submit an essay or video on how their school is working to meet Georgia’s health education standards. The deadline is Feb. 3, 2012.

For additional contest details, visit To learn more about Healthy Kids Georgia, visit For more information on Georgia 4-H, visit

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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