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Kunsberg School Wins USDA Award for Excellence in Nutrition


School for chronically ill children grades K-8 is recognized for excellence in nutrition

Kunsberg School, a unique learning environment for chronically ill children at National Jewish Medical and Research Center, is the only Colorado school ever to win the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award for excellence in nutrition, nutritional education and physical education.  USDA Under Secretary Nancy Montanez Johner presented the award on Friday, February 2  to an assembly of Kunsberg students, staff and volunteers.

To win the highest recognition from the USDA, Kunsberg School had to meet several strictly documented criteria: offer lunches that demonstrate healthy menu planning practices and follow the principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, provide nutritional education to students, and provide the opportunity for physical education. The school far exceeded the healthy menu planning requirements by serving nutritious meals including whole grains and a fresh fruit or raw vegetable every day. Kunsberg allows no vending machines for soft drinks or candy in the school. Nutritional education at Kunsberg includes classroom teaching and small group and individual instruction.

In spite of difficult chronic illnesses like asthma, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis and diabetes, Kunsberg students participate in 45 minutes of physical education every day. The children receive Red Cross swimming instruction, play strenuous sports and even climb on a climbing wall. This an enviable standard for any school and a great personal achievement for children who had been unable to participate in many of those activities before attending Kunsberg.

 "Kunsberg School has an innovative atmosphere that allows chronically ill children to maximize their potential and grow beyond their medical difficulties," said Gary Cott , MD, Executive Vice President of Medical and Clinical Services at National Jewish. "By focusing on the whole child, the Kunsberg environment supports each student medically, academically, emotionally and physically. This award recognizes and reinforces National Jewish's commitment to providing the best for Kunsberg's students."

Founded in 1976, Kunsberg School offers a unique approach for students in kindergarten through eighth grade who require medical assistance during the school day. The school is approved by the Colorado Department of Education, is located on the grounds of National Jewish Medical and Research Center, and is free for all students.


National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 125 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of children and adults with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit the media resources page.

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