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Alice Walton Foundation pledges $1.28 million to UAMS for NWA school nutrition programs

Recommendations include moving a salad bar to the front of lunch lines to encourage more fruit and vegetable consumption or reducing fat and sodium in some recipes.
Credit: Walton Family Foundation

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) will expand partnerships with local school districts to implement a school nutrition enrichment program in Northwest Arkansas to provide healthier food choices for students. The program expansion is supported by a $1.28 million grant from the Alice L. Walton Foundation.

It will build on a successful pilot program implemented by UAMS’ Office of Community Health & Research to improve nutrition in schools.

The UAMS school nutrition program will work with six school districts in Northwest Arkansas – beginning with Bentonville and Springdale in 2020 – to implement a comprehensive nutrition program. UAMS will add two additional school districts each year in 2021 and 2022, and has hopes of expanding the program through Northwest Arkansas and the state.

“We have been very successful in reducing the amount of sodium in school lunches and providing healthier food choices for students,” said Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., vice chancellor for the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. “Thanks to this additional funding, we can expand our efforts and help more schools build sustainable and healthier nutrition programs with a focus on reducing sugar and saturated fat, and increasing fruits and vegetables.”

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