"Our partnership with Life Time is so timely given the school meal reform underway in Minneapolis and across the country"
MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) and the Life Time Foundation, a private operating foundation created by Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life CompanySM (NYSE: LTM), today announced a partnership to improve the meals provided to more than 36,000 students through the MPS school meal program. A $550,000 grant from the Life Time Foundation will be used to purchase new food service equipment, enabling MPS to better manage and remove unhealthy ingredients from the school menu in favor of natural, wholesome foods that promote a Healthy Way of Life. MPS and Life Time also will collaborate on the development of a sustainable menu and budget model for schools and districts across the country to use as they strive to improve their own school meal programs.
Championed by Bertrand Weber, the culinary and nutrition services director for MPS, and Bahram Akradi, Life Time chairman, president and CEO, the collaboration and support of the Life Time Foundation will assist MPS in its effort to change how food is purchased and prepared for its schools. In partnership, both also aim to serve as agents for change to positively impact school nutrition.
The collaboration comes at a time when childhood obesity has been noted as the number one health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking according to the American Heart Association. In addition, one in three kids is considered overweight or obese and likely to develop diabetes during their lifetime.
“Our partnership with Life Time is so timely given the school meal reform underway in Minneapolis and across the country,” said Weber. “We have already begun a makeover of MPS school meals by initiating rigorous nutrition parameters, converting schools back to cooking kitchens, installing salad bars, and partnering with local chefs. We’re grateful for the commitment the Life Time Foundation has made, which allows us to take a huge leap forward to ensure our students have access to minimally-processed, clean, real food while helping pave the way for other schools.”
Ingredients to be removed from much of the MPS school menu include: bleached flour; artificial preservatives, colors and sweeteners; high fructose corn syrup; trans fats and hydrogenated oils; and antibiotics and hormones in beef and other animal products whenever possible. In addition to nutritional benefits, studies have also shown that healthier diets associate with higher academic performance.
“Eating healthy is very simple,” says Akradi. “If you eliminate highly processed and artificial ingredients, you end up with healthy food. Processed and artificial ingredients are highly problematic and have been overused during the last 20 to 30 years. Children deserve healthy meals and we shouldn’t settle for anything less. The model we’re creating with Minneapolis Public Schools, along with the other schools we’re supporting, is designed to be replicated so every school can serve healthy lunches.”
The Life Time Foundation currently is working with more than 90 schools in Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio, and is seeking new school applicants. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a school for consideration.
About Minneapolis Public Schools
Minneapolis Public Schools promises an inspirational education experience in a safe, welcoming environment for all diverse learners to acquire the tools and skills necessary to confidently engage in the global community. For more information, visitmpls.k12.mn.us.
About the Life Time Foundation
As a private operating foundation created by Life Time Fitness, Inc. (NYSE: LTM), the Life Time Foundation is about inspiring healthy people and a healthy planet one mission at a time. Currently, the Foundation is focused on improving children’s nutrition through education and the elimination of highly processed and unnatural ingredients from school lunch menus,, ensuring every child has a healthy start in life. Unlike many other charitable organizations in which a portion of donations is consumed by administrative costs, 100% of every dollar donated to the Life Time Foundation directly supports its mission because all administrative costs are contributed by Life Time. For more information, visit ltffoundation.org.
About Life Time Fitness, Inc.
As The Healthy Way of Life Company, Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM) helps organizations, communities and individuals achieve their total health objectives, athletic aspirations and fitness goals by engaging in their areas of interest — or discovering new passions — both inside and outside of Life Time’s distinctive and large sports, professional fitness, family recreation and spa destinations, most of which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Company’s Healthy Way of Life approach enables customers to achieve this by providing the best programs, people and places of uncompromising quality and value. As of May 7, 2014, the Company operated 110 centers under the LIFE TIME FITNESS® and LIFE TIME ATHLETIC® brands in the United States and Canada. Additional information about Life Time centers, programs and services is available at lifetimefitness.com.