Jewish Day School Wellness Initiative

In 2003, leadership from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) partnered to conduct an in-depth health survey in West Rogers Park/Peterson Park, the most heavily concentrated Jewish community in Chicago. The survey revealed that more than half of all children living in these neighborhoods were overweight or obese, and a project was launched to address this problem through changes in Jewish schools. 

Thanks to generous funding from the Michael Reese Health Trust and Polk Bros. Foundation, a project known as the Jewish Day School Wellness Initiative was implemented within all interested ATT schools between 2006-2010.  Specifically, Akiba Schechter, Arie Crown, Cheder Lubavitch Elementary (boys and girls), Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov, Hillel Torah, Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov, Lubavitch Girls High School, and Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi all participated in the program in an effort to improve student health. Participating schools reported positive changes in a variety of areas including health education, physical education, the school environment, staff wellness, and family involvement.  Additional funding from the Michael Reese Health Trust allowed the initiative to be continued through the 2010-11 school year with a grant competition open to all schools.  The winning schools have used the money for purchases ranging from playground equipment to school nursing software. 

The ATT is pleased to provide health education materials that were collected or developed for the project free of charge on this website. Hard copies of selected materials, as well as the curriculum guides, health books, and other materials can be accessed at the ATT Frankel Teachers' Center of the Walder Education Pavilion of Torah Umesorah. Visit the center at:
8150 McCormick Blvd.
SkokieIL, 60076
phone: 847-674-0800

The framework and materials developed for this initiative have already been shared with other Jewish communities and day schools around the country. If you have any questions about what your schools are doing or if you would like to get involved in making ATT schools healthier, please contact your school's administration.

Parents, teachers, or students interested in working with schools to improve student wellness are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous organizations focused on this issue.  In particular, Action for Healthy Kids, the Healthy Teacher Network, and the Healthy Schools Campaign are all great resources.

20 Healthy Snacks
One-page list of 20 quick and satisfying snacks 
Tips for Healthy Snacking
Two-page handout explaining how to get the most out of snacks
Healthy Lunch Tips
One-page handout with tips for packing healthy lunches that children will eat
Make Room for Snacks: 5-, 10- and 15-minute Snacks
Four-page handout with tips for snacking on the go and preparing quick, easy snacks
Packing Healthy Lunches
A one-page handout with a 5-day sample lunch menu
Move Your Body…Weather or Not!
A fun one-page handout that lists several ideas for physical activity, referenced by indoor/outdoor and season
Savvy Shopping
Trifold brochure; lists strategies to save money and optimize your food budget
Seasonal Guide to Produce
Trifold brochure; lists fruits and vegetables according to their peak season
15 Ways to More Fruits and Vegetables
Easy ways to sneak more fruits and vegetables into your daily meals and snacks
Cooking and Baking Tips
Two-page reference sheet detailing healthier ways of food preparation for meats, soups, salads, and baked goods
Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables and Fruit
One-page handout
Glycemic Index
A guide to foods based on the impact they have on blood sugar; two pages
Shopping for Health and Budget
One-page handout with tips on stretching your healthy food budget
The Importance of Breakfast
One-page handout; explains why breakfast is essential and provides tips/ideas.
Trans Fat Label Reading Tips
An easy-to-understand handout explaining how to read labels to identify trans fat and why it should be avoided
What Counts as a Serving?
A convenient one-page handout that explains serving sizes for foods in the different groups. Serving sizes are compared to common items such as a tennis ball or light bulb. 
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