Starting in November and continuing through June, Indio High School nutrition students receive over 1,200 pounds of organic produce from FIND Food Bank. Every other week, each of the 38 students enrolled in Physiology of Digestion with instructor Jason Tate take home over 20 pounds of produce to share with their families. This is a collaboration of efforts among multiple Coachella Valley nonprofit organizations including FIND Food Bank, Lift 2 Rise, and the Human Health Initiative.

A goal of this collaboration is to gather data and assemble a regional strategic plan to drastically reduce childhood obesity in the Coachella Valley by 2028 with access to healthy foods combined with nutrition education.

Approximately 31% (16,000+) of our Coachella Valley youth are considered obese. This is double the national percentage of 16% (9 million+). A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that “obese kids were 5.5 times more likely to have an impaired quality of life than healthy kids, putting their life experience on par with that of kids undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.”

Our children are our future and if we want to have healthy, stable, and thriving Coachella Valley families, we need to provide them with the tools, resources, and skills in order to lead healthy lives.

Indio High has been offering a rigorous A-G compliant nutrition and lifestyle education course for the past six years; providing free organic produce to the families of those students enrolled builds on this program. The goal is to show compelling data that nutrition and lifestyle education, paired with access to healthy foods, greatly improves the health and vitality of our youth, as well as their families. Successful implementation of this initiative will ensure funding and resources to scale this model out to dozens of schools across the valley K-12 as early as the 2018-19 school year.

If you are interested in learning more about this program, getting involved, or learning how to implement this at your own school, please contact Jason Tate at [email protected].

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