FARMINGTON — Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County recently announced that one school, 11 school cafeterias, six out-of-school programs, eight child care programs, and four health care practices in Franklin County are being recognized for building environments in which unhealthy food choices are limited and opportunities for physical activity are plentiful, according to a news release from Healthy Community Coalition.

Sites in Franklin County participate in Let’s Go! by prioritizing healthy habits and making the healthy choice the easy choice. Let’s Go! Franklin County will celebrate all sites on Thursday, Nov. 17, at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

“I am continually impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the sites that participate in Let’s Go! to provide a healthy space and encourage healthy habits for all kids in our community,” said Molly Clark, the Franklin County Let’s Go! coordinator at Healthy Community Coalition, in the release..

“More and more communities across Maine are embracing Let’s Go!’s evidence-based strategies and we’re seeing a difference in the health of our children. Kids are shunning sugary drinks, grabbing fruit during lunch, and making better media choices,” said Dr. Victoria Rogers, Director of the Let’s Go! Program, in the release. “This is the fifth year we’ve officially recognized sites for making healthy eating and physical activity a priority and I’m constantly impressed by their energy and hard work.”

Introduced in 2012, the program identifies and celebrates schools, out-of-school programs, child care programs and health care practices for their role in improving the health of all children. The program focuses on sustainable change and therefore recognizes various levels leading up to policy change: Bronze reflects a site implementing the program’s five, evidence-based priority strategies, Silver acknowledges a site that has communicated these changes to parents and family members and Gold, the highest level of recognition, is reserved for sites that have written all five priority strategies into policy.

For the second year in a row, Let’s Go! is recognizing school cafeterias for their contributions to the movement. “Cafeterias are making enormous strides to improve the health of the student body and deserve to be celebrated,” said Amy Bouchard, registered dietician and Let’s Go! Program Coordinator, in the release.

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