WASHINGTON, DC -- In an effort to help local school children develop better eating habits, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Education will receive a $158,953 Team Nutrition Training Grant. This money, which will be distributed over two years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will allow Rhode Island to improve nutrition criteria for school meals, making the state a national leader on this issue.

"I am pleased that the Rhode Island Department of Education is receiving this federal funding to enhance nutrition standards for school meals and help our children make healthier choices," said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration which oversees federal spending of the USDA. "The Team Nutrition Training program offers a recipe for success. Giving kids well-balanced meals and teaching them about the importance of nutrition will instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime."

Rhode Island has experienced substantial increases in overweight and obesity among all groups of residents, particularly children. According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, 47 percent of six to eleven year olds are overweight or at risk for overweight, and 27 percent of twelve to seventeen year olds are overweight or at risk for overweight.