Graduation Rates Reach Record Highs A BELATED CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2014-15, which boasted a record-setting percentage of graduating high schoolers—for the fifth straight year, according to President Obama, who announced the stats, based on U.S. Department of Education findings, in mid-October. According to the data, 83% of eligible students graduated from high school that year—despite the fact that some standardized test scores, including the SAT and the ACT, are stagnant or down. The highest graduation rates are for Asian/Pacific Islander students (89%), followed by White (87%), while the lowest are for American Indian/Alaska Native students (70%). Historically, the U.S. graduation rate didn’t exceed 50% until 1940, but it hit a peak of 88% in 1968, according to figures from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). In the late 1990s, however, the rate had dwindled to just 71%, leading to the term “dropout factories” to describe U.S. public schools. The rising levels of graduating high schoolers is encouraging news about our public education system—with more good news expected. A 2016 Building a Grad Nation report from the Alliance for Excellent Education and other organizations predicts a 90% graduation rate by 2020. Read More: “Building a Grad Nation,” http://tinyurl.com/gradnation16-sn 19.45 U.S. retail toys/games market, in billions of dollars, in 2015. Source: Statistica 2016 WHICH TRACKER TO TAKE TO HEART? Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic put some of the most popular fitness trackers to the test to see which one was truly the most accurate when it comes to measuring heart rate. The winner? A drumroll, please…the Apple Watch came in first with 90% accuracy. The results of the study were published in JAMA Cardiology in October. In addition to the Apple Watch, researchers tested the Fitbit Charge HR, Mio Alpha and Basis Peak, as well as a chest strap (which had 99% accuracy—but it’s not a traditional fitness tracker). According to Dr. Gordon Blackburn in an article from Time, the fitness trackers other than the Apple Watch were all roughly 80% accurate in monitoring heart rate. For all trackers studied, the higher the level of intensity, the less accurate the tracker was in recording heart rate values. The study did not track accuracy in step counts or other categories monitored by such trackers. The researchers note that because cardiac patients increasingly rely on such monitors to stay within physician-recommended safe heart-rate targets during rehabilitation and exercise, “appropriate validation of these devices in this group is imperative.” Read More: “Accuracy of Wrist-Worn Heart Rate Monitors,” JAMA Cardiology, http://tinyurl.com/fitnesstrackers-SN HISTORY REWIND: BOSTON TEA PARTY ANNIVERSARY DECEMBER 16, 2016, MARKS THE 243RD ANNIVERSARY of the Boston Tea Party. If you need to reach into the nooks and crannies of your mind to remember why the Boston Tea Party was such a key event in American history, here’s a brief rewind to remind you: What’s the Deal? First, you have to know that the American colonists liked their tea, drinking some 1.2 million tons of the beverage every year. But, because of colonial-era taxes, tea was really expensive. When the Brits repealed taxes on nearly everything but teas, the colonists were really ticked off, mostly because they didn’t get a say in this major decision—one of the first examples of “Taxation without Representation.” Who Was Upset? Some names you might recognize: Samuel Adams (the head honcho), John Adams (future U.S. president), John Hancock and Paul Revere. These guys, plus a whole bunch more, were collectively known as “The Sons of Liberty.” And What, Exactly, Did The Conspirators Do? Destroyed nearly $10,000 worth of British East India Company tea—equal to 46 tons—by sneaking aboard three ships (some disguised as Mohawk Indians) and dumping the cargo into Boston Harbor. In today’s money, that’s more than $1.7 million worth of tea. Nothing else was destroyed, and there was no violence—key to the plan, according to the Sons of Liberty. Did This Change Anything? For one, the smell of Boston—that Harbor became a little stinky, so the British shut it down until all the tea was paid for, which didn’t exactly fix relations with the colonists. In the end, the Boston Tea Party was considered a spark that incited the American Revolution 18 months later. Read More: Boston Tea Party: A Revolutionary Experience, www.bostonteapartyship.com Your Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies THE HOLIDAYS ARE NOT THE TIME TO START A NEW DIET. But it doesn’t take much to sabotage your efforts to lose or maintain weight during this time of year. It’s important to think ahead. Implement (at least) one smart strategy for each tempting occasion... …at a party Stand far, far away from the table full of food. It’s so easy to mindlessly grab another canape or handful of nuts if it’s right next to you. …when gift shopping Plan your mall route to avoid the food court; all that walking can make anyone feel peckish. Instead, pack a nutritious snack to enjoy while browsing. …at the office Before you dive into communal treats, challenge yourself to take a healthy action first, such as climbing a flight of stairs or drinking a full glass of water. …during a big meal Use the buddy system by splitting a dessert with someone. You get to indulge a little without being tempted to clean the plate—or leave waste behind. 3 Ways to … Worry Less 1) SCHEDULE TIME TO WORRY. If you get all your worrying out of the way early in the day, you’ll be less likely to dwell on it later. During your “worry session,” jot down notes about potential problems and solutions, plus your feelings. If a worrying thought pops into your head later in the day, write it down to think about during your next scheduled “worry session.” 2) ACTIVELY PRACTICE ACCEPTING UNCERTAINTY. You can’t dictate everything, so when a thought crosses your mind about a situation that you know you have no control over, take a minute to remind yourself, “I can’t control that.” Release the tension from your body by dropping your shoulders and relaxing your jaw. 3) SPEND LESS TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU WORRY. Some people just make you anxious, whether you’re worried about the choices they are making or you’re worried that they might bring up a topic you don’t want to discuss, such as politics. Cut back on your interactions with “toxic” people whenever possible. PROMO PLANNER JANUARY National Soup Month National Volunteer Blood Donor Month Oatmeal Month Healthy Weight Week (Jan. 16-20) Sugar Awareness Week (Jan. 16-20) National Spaghetti Day (Jan. 4) National Technology Day (Jan. 6) Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (observed) (Jan. 16) National Compliment Day (Jan. 24) Chinese New Year–Year of the Rooster (Jan. 28) FEBRUARY American Heart Month National Cherry Month Sweet Potato Month Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week (Feb. 6-12) National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 23-Mar. 1) Elmo’s Birthday (Feb. 3) Super Bowl (Feb. 5) National Bagel Day (Feb. 9) Grammy Awards (Feb. 12) Presidents Day (Feb. 20) MARCH National Craft Month National Nutrition Month National Peanut Month National Sleep Awareness Week (Mar. 2-9) National School Breakfast Week (Mar. 6-10) Read Across America Day (Mar. 2) National Employee Appreciation Day (Mar. 3) Registered Dietitian Day (Mar. 8) Spring Begins (Mar. 20) World Water Day (Mar. 22) For more holiday and promo ideas, visit the 2016-17 Promotional Calendar at www.schoolnutrition.org/promocalendar “TUESDAY” TIDBITS LAC Sweepstakes Returns Earn a free registration to SNA’s 2017 Legislative Action Conference (LAC), along with travel and accommodations for yourself and a guest in SNA’s annual LAC Sweepstakes. Simply email a picture of your patriotism in action. Maybe you’re wearing an Uncle Sam or Rosie the Riveter costume. Perhaps you conducted a special election for a favorite school menu. Maybe you invited area veterans to join the kids for lunch on or around November 11. Of course, photos of your elected officials touring a school cafeteria are always encouraged! To enter, email pictures to email@example.com by February 15, 2017. For more details, visit http://cqrcengage.com/schoolnutrition/Sweep17. Pediatricians Offer Presidential Advice The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a transition plan for the next Administration. Blueprint for Children: How the Next President Can Build a Foundation for a Healthy Future describes how the federal government can align activities to ensure the United States is a leading nation for children. Federal Ops Study Underway USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has announced the second round of the Child Nutrition Program Operations Study (CNS-Ops-II), which will collect data on policies and operational/administrative issues relating to child nutrition programs. These might include the preparation of the program budget, implementation of regulations and identification of areas requiring technical assistance. A notice in the Federal Register solicits comments on the methods and accuracy of the study. States Gear Up for 2017-18 In 2016, more than 160,000 bills were introduced in legislative chambers in state capitols from coast to coast. There’s a lot of paperwork and competition to get a bill through committee and to the attention of the full legislative body. In order to get a jump-start on new bills, most states allow legislators to pre-file bills. In addition, some states have “carry-over” bills that are automatically reintroduced at the beginning of the next session. Visit the “State Legislation and Policy Reports” page on SchoolNutrition.org (http://schoolnutrition.org/LegislationPolicy/StateLegislationPolicyReports) for a state legislative calendar and periodic reports about state-level activity. Tuesday Morning is SNA’s free weekly policy e-newsletter. Subscribe at www.schoolnutrition.org/Newsletters/TuesdayMorning. INGREDIENTS FOR HEALTH: BRUSSELS SPROUTS These tiny green cabbages might be a hard sell in the school cafeteria, but you’re doing your own diet no favors if you are the one avoiding Brussels sprouts. TRY THIS. If the pungent smell of cooked Brussels sprouts wrinkles your nose, use them raw in a sprouts-and-apple salad. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts and toss them with chopped Granny Smith apples, toasted hazelnuts, Champagne vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and grated pecorino-Romano cheese. NUTRITIONAL PROFILE. Mama always told you to eat your green veggies, and Brussels sprouts are no exception. They’re full of antioxidants (which help prevent cell damage), vitamins K and C (195% and 125%, respectively, of the daily value in 1 cup) and dietary fiber, along with folate, potassium and more. HOW TO EAT. Wash and clean the sprouts, then cut off the tough bottom and remove any wilted outer leaves. You can boil the Brussels sprouts (just don’t overcook them!), steam them for 5 to 10 minutes, roast them or saute with garlic and olive oil. Brussel sprouts actually are named after the city in Belgium, where they were cultivated as early as the 16th century (or before, depending on whom you ask). READ MORE. “Five Ideas for Cooking Brussels Sprouts,” Tampa Bay Times, http://tinyurl.com/Brussels-sprouts-SN
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