Four Washington, D.C. metro area schools were recently honored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for battling childhood obesity and raising awareness of nutrition. The Alliance recognized 179 schools from across the country for transforming their campuses into healthier places for their students and staff. Despite two-thirds of the schools honored being located in lower-income communities, many met or exceeded the tough health standards set by the Alliance’s Healthy Schools program.

During the award presentation in New York City on June 15, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said, “The schools celebrated this year how much can be done from the cafeteria to the playground. Tough budget times and other challenges are no match for the commitment and creativity of administrators, teachers, parents and students.”

Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School, Bradbury Heights Elementary School, Charles Herbert Flowers High School and Thurgood Marshall Middle School were the four metro area schools honored by the Alliance this year.

Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Public Charter School received its first award from the Alliance this year when it won the Bronze Medal of Healthy Schools award, and according to Linda Moore, the school’s executive director, the school was “very excited.”

Elsie Stokes is most noted for growing its own garden, and having their students participate in over 150 minutes of physical activity a week. They’ve also added a yoga class and both walking and running clubs.

“We want to develop an appreciation for fresh food and we want our students to understand the link between fresh food, nutrition and good health,” said Moore. “Many think that because we live in a city, it’s impossible to grow a garden on a balcony or a in a small backyard, and that’s simply not true.”

Nearly one in every three children in America is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, which is why the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program provides over 9,000 schools nationwide with free support and technical assistance to help reverse the trend of obesity. Since 2006, more than 350 National Recognition Awards have been presented.

This year the Alliance became a founding member of the Partnership for a Healthier America, the independent organization created support the goals of the Let’s Move! campaign started by first lady Michelle Obama.

Let’s Move! seeks to give parents support, provide healthier food in schools, help kids become more physically active and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of the country.

Both the Alliance and Let’s Move! aim to end childhood obesity for a between 2015 and 2030, and school officials such as Moore think it can happen.

“Raising natural, healthy food isn’t difficult,” said Moore. “We just hope to continue to expand the health curriculum here so that we can raise awareness.”