Friday, January 21, 2011

Groundbreaking Industry Agreements Help Increase Availability of Healthy School Meals

/PRNewswire/ -- A new multi-industry voluntary agreement announced today by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation brings together leading food manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to help America's schools serve healthier meals at more affordable prices. As a result of these agreements, more than 30 million students across the country will have access to healthier school meals – including at least 14 million students who currently participate in the free and reduced lunch program.

AdvancePierre Foods, Domino's Pizza, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Schwan's Food Service, Trident Seafoods, HPS, Premier healthcare alliance, Summa/Provista, Interflex, Dole Food Company, Inc., and the National Turkey Federation have joined the effort to combat childhood obesity by agreeing to increase the availability of products that can lead to healthy schools meals. Signatories to these first of their kind agreements brokered by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, have agreed to develop, market and competitively price products that will lead to healthier school meal options; streamline the ordering process; and make identifying healthy options easier.

"With students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, healthy school meals are key to winning the fight against childhood obesity," said President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation. "Building on our agreements that have reduced the number of calories in beverages shipped to schools by 88 percent, the Alliance is now focusing on helping provide more nutritious meal options to more than 30 million school children nationwide."

Manufacturers including AdvancePierre Foods, Domino's Pizza, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Schwan's Food Service and Trident Seafoods pledge not to price healthy options out of reach of school cafeterias. Signatories will set prices for healthier items that meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's science-based standards for nutrition at prices no higher than less healthy comparable products. Participating manufacturers have also pledged to increase the sales of compliant products to at least 50 percent of their entire school sales within five years.

Manufacturers have committed to aggressively promote products that align with the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program standards and will help schools meet or exceed the requirements currently being finalized by the USDA. Product commitments fall in at least one of the following categories within the Alliance's science-based guidelines for school foods:

* Lean protein products, such as lean red meat, skinless poultry, lean deli meats, fat-free or low-fat cheese, beans, and tofu.
* Low-fat lunch entrees with reduced total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels.
* Whole-grain products, such as bread, pasta and pizza crust.
* Fresh, canned or frozen fruit.
* Non-fried vegetables.
* Zero trans fat cooking oils.


"Increased access and lower prices to purchase healthy meal components makes it easier for schools to offer healthier school meals — a key strategy to help combat childhood obesity and to move students and staff toward ideal cardiovascular health," said Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and chairman, department of neurology Miller School of Medicine University of Miami.

Schools can also save time and gain buying power by joining a group purchasing organization (GPO). With today's agreement three of the largest GPOs in the U.S. with more than $70 billion in combined buying power, HPS, Premier healthcare alliance and Summa/Provista, have agreed to offer products that meet the Alliance's nutritional guidelines. GPOs have been successful at consolidating buying power in other institutional food service settings including hospitals, healthcare facilities and universities. By applying this same model to America's schools, schools will see a savings of 10 to 20 percent in their food and beverage purchases.

In order to help schools take the first step in changing their purchasing process, the Alliance is collaborating with the technology firm Interflex to create an online tool that streamlines the procurement process by assisting schools with planning, bidding and purchasing healthier products. Dole Food Company, Inc. and the National Turkey Federation have also agreed to leverage their tools and resources to support schools in their implementation of this new approach to school meals.

"Today is just the beginning. The food manufacturer, group purchasing and technology agreements are just three components of the Alliance's larger healthier school meals strategy with the goal of impacting more than 30 million students within a five year period," said Ginny Ehrlich, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Additional components in the Alliance's school meals strategy to support food service professionals being launched over the next year will include in-person and online training programs, menu planning and cooking techniques and recipes from celebrity chefs to school food service staff.

Last week, the USDA released the proposed rule for the nutrition standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. To help schools more easily navigate the Alliance and USDA standards, the Alliance will update their guidelines to meet or exceed the final rule. The Alliance agreement announced today helps alleviate barriers districts will face in serving healthier school meals, and will enhance schools' ability to meet those updated standards.

Parents, school administrators and food service directors can help the Alliance fight childhood obesity and bring healthier meals to schools across the country by joining the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program online at www.healthiergeneration.org. There is no cost to join the Healthy Schools Program, and members have access to hundreds of resources, including a variety of free technical tools that enable anyone who makes purchasing decisions about school meals to implement and promote healthier options for students.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pretzelmaker® Offers $10,000 for Best Original Cheers

/PRNewswire/ -- Pretzelmaker announced today that the company has launched a compelling new contest for cheerleaders across the country. The " Cheer with a Twist" Video Contest is being hosted completely online and was developed to celebrate the brand's commitment to "freshness with a twist." Pretzelmaker is managed by GFG Management, LLC, a subsidiary of Global Franchise Group.

To enter the contest, Pretzelmaker is asking cheer squads to submit a video, no longer than two minutes in length, of their squad executing an original cheer that incorporates the "Pretzelmaker" name and demonstrates a "twist" theme to the brand's Facebook® page at www.Facebook.com/Pretzelmaker. Prizes for the contest will be awarded in April, when one squad will receive the Grand Prize of up to $5,000*. Two additional squads will be selected as Runners Up and will each receive up to $2,500*.

The contest runs through March 31, 2011. Additional entry rules and details can be found on Pretzelmaker's Facebook® page and at www.Pretzelmaker.com.

"We're proud of Pretzelmaker's culture of fresh products prepared in an entertaining environment," said Jenn Johnston, chief marketing & operations officer for GFG Management, LLC. "We feel that this contest is an excellent way to recognize the elements that have made us so successful and look forward to rewarding three outstanding cheer squads for their exceptional Pretzelmaker cheers."

In addition to becoming a fan of the brand on Facebook®, customers can stay up to date on all new products and promotions by joining Pretzelmaker's exclusive e-mail fan club at www.Pretzelmaker.com.

*The Grand Prize video receives up to $5,000 and two Runner Up videos receive up to $2,500 each. Prizes to be awarded as a cash prize divided equally between all members of the winning cheer squads with the maximum cash prize to each member not to exceed $500 to the Grand Prize winners and $250 to the Runners Up. No purchase necessary to enter or win. 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parents Palooza Event Hosted by GPB's Slangman

Parents Palooza
Saturday, February 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, February 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cobb Galleria Centre, Halls A & B
Two Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339

/PRNewswire/ -- The ultimate family event and parenting expo heads to Cobb Galleria Centre in February, and it's being hosted by "Slangman's World" star Slangman! Known on the show as an unpredictable wizard and wordsmith who helps children develop a multicultural worldview, Slangman will be joined by a huge variety of fun performers, speakers and activities for both kids and parents. Parents Palooza is a celebration of parenthood. It's both an entertaining and educational event that the entire family can enjoy.

Parents Palooza is a fun-filled parenting expo bursting with information, products and services for parents of infants through teens. Whether it's guidance on potty training, cell phone companies, summer camps or college applications, parents will connect with the resources that can make their most important job a lot easier.

Parents Palooza features more than 200 exhibitors, product and food samples, speakers forums, a social network parents' networking area, inflatables, massage, family competitions, chorus performances, children's ID kits and plenty of prizes, along with:

* Family Rock Band presented by Xfinity
* Dream Maker Talent Search
* Medieval Times Princess Storytime
* Red Hot Fire Truck Events
* BeDazzle Whimsical Hair Designs
* Tumblastic Playscape
* Birth Stories on Demand Live Podcast
* Performances by RocKandi
* Every Little Bottom Diaper Drive
* Radio Disney DJ and Road Crew
* Atlanta Family Photo Contest
* Lighten Up Atlanta Health Challenge
* Concentra Urgent Care's Minutes Matter Family Challenge
* Tumblebus
* Circus Camp

Parents Palooza is joined by non-profit partners Angel Flight Soars, Inc.; Rosebuds, Miles for Cystic Fibrosis; Autism Society of Greater Georgia; and Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

http://www.ParentsPalooza.com

Tickets:

* Advance one-day tickets: Adults: $10, Kids (ages 6 and up): $5, Children under 5 - FREE
* Tickets at the door: Adults: $12, Kids (ages 6 and up): $6, Children under 5 - FREE
* Tickets are available at http://www.ParentsPalooza.com
* Free parking!

Parents Palooza was developed by Kent Events, LLC, an event planning company specializing in the management, production and promotion of events that connect with attendees on a personal level. Kent Events founders Jon and Stacy Kent have backgrounds in promotion, management and trade shows as well as corporate and private event planning. Kent Events is located at 12600 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 100, Alpharetta, Georgia 30004 and can be reached by calling 678-566-3606.

Parents Palooza thanks sponsors Atlanta Kids Directory, 790 The Zone, Atlanta Parent Magazine, GPB Kids, Xfinity and Radio Disney.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Keeping Kids Safe Online

FBI Program Offered in Schools

Child at computerRecent studies show that one in seven youngsters has experienced unwanted sexual solicitations online. One in three has been exposed to unwanted sexual material online. One in 11 has been harassed or bullied online.

And as we all know, these are only some of the dangers that our kids face while surfing the Internet. How can we simultaneously protect them from these threats and enable them to take advantage of the positive things the web has to offer?

In addition to investigating online crimes targeting children, the FBI works to educate kids and their parents about the Internet, sometimes sending cyber agents to visit schools as well as posting useful resources on our public website. We also offer our Safe Online Surfing program to schools to help students understand how to recognize, report, and avoid online dangers.

How it all started. The Safe Online Surfing (SOS) program began in our Miami office six years ago, when Special Agent Jim Lewis from one of our cyber squads—who saw first-hand how easily kids could be victimized online—approached a co-worker, Community Outreach Specialist Jeff Green, about his desire to share information about Internet safety with school students.

FBI Miami turned to nearby Nova Southeastern University for assistance with creating an online Internet safety program that that also tested students on what they learned. About 400 South Florida students took part initially, and according to Green, feedback from students and teachers was positive.

Said Green, “Kids are surfing the Internet anyway, so we were just using a vehicle they were comfortable with.”

Over the years, other FBI field offices began offering the SOS program with the help of their community outreach specialists. By October 2010, our Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters—which manages our Innocent Images National Initiative, focused on online child predators—took the SOS program under its wing and made it a national one. Today, more than 90,000 children in 41 states have completed it.

How it works. At each grade level, third through eighth, students begin by taking pre-quizzes to test their overall knowledge. Then, a scavenger hunt takes them to pre-screened websites where they get Internet safety and cyber citizenship information. And finally, they take timed post-quizzes to demonstrate what they’ve learned. The program also promotes a fun competition between schools: every month—from September through May—schools with the highest scoring students in the nation are awarded the FBI-SOS Trophy.

Topics covered in the program run the cyber gamut: depending on the age of the students, they might learn about password security, cyberbullying, virus protection, copyright issues, online predators, e-mail, chat rooms, social networking sites, when to talk to parents or teachers about a threat, and appropriate uses of cell phones and gaming devices.

Of the SOS program, Cyber Division Assistant Director Gordon Snow said, “The Internet is a powerful resource for our youth, but it also presents opportunities for those who would attempt to do them harm…the Safe Online Surfing program is designed to teach young people what they need to know to avoid falling victim to individuals who want to take advantage of their youth and innocence.”

Schools interested in signing up for the Safe Online Surfing program should contact the community outreach specialist in their local FBI office.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

National Call for Entries: Two Weeks Left for Youth to Enter FreeTheBowl.com Video Contest

/PRNewswire/ -- The January 24, 2011 deadline to enter Marin Institute's 3rd annual Free The Bowl™ Video Contest is quickly approaching. Youth 10-20 years old are encouraged to compete in this action to eliminate exploitative alcohol ads on TV sports programs. This year's contest calls for 30-60 second original music, dance, rap or spoken word performance counter-beer-ads. The top prize is $1,000.

"Foreign-based alcohol corporations spend half a billion dollars annually advertising during TV sports programs," said Michael Scippa, Marin Institute's public affairs director. "And the holy grail of beer ad venues and revenues is the Super Bowl, where Anheuser-Busch InBev burns beer brands into the developing brains of an estimated 30 million underage football fans. " Free The Bowl™ allows youth to say to Budweiser, CBS-TV, and the NFL, STOP EXPLOITING US WITH YOUR BEER ADS!"

Research has shown that the more alcohol ads kids see, the more likely they are to drink, drink to excess and drink more often. In 2009, the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking reported that 5,000 people under the age of 21 die annually from injuries caused by alcohol. Hundreds of thousands more suffer alcohol-fueled sexual assaults, serious injuries, diseases, and academic failure.

A recent analysis released by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shows that voluntary industry advertising codes are ineffective. According to the study, youth exposure to alcohol advertising on U.S. television increased 71 percent between 2001 and 2009. The research also pointed to Bud Light, a mainstay of Super Bowl advertising, as one of 12 brands targeting youth.

"Young people are slammed by TV alcohol ads every day of the year," stated Scippa. "But beer ads on TV sports programs, and especially during the NFL's Super Bowl, are a massive overdose that must be curbed to reduce youth alcohol-related harm."

To enter the contest go to FreeTheBowl.com where you can also view past years' winning videos, this year's promotional videos, and find complete information on contest rules and prizes. Contest winners will be announced during the Free The Bowl™ 2011 World Premiere, February 3, 2011, at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, California.

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