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California after-school programs can now be certified as healthy

Lisa Gardiner
Senator Jackson with students from Santa Barbara Unified School District's A-OK after school program at Harding University Partnership School celebrating the launch of California’s DASH recognition program.";

Parents will soon be able to choose from a list of local after-school programs that are certified by the state as healthy options for their kids. 

Starting this month, operators of after school programs throughout the state can request certification to prove they meet certain health standards.

The Distinguished After School Health recognition program (DASH), authored by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara), was signed into law back in 2014. Since then, the state's Department of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction have been creating a DASH portal for both parents and programs.

To become certified, after school operators must serve healthful foods, require kids to exercise and limit time spent in front of computers or looking at phones.

Senator Jackson said limiting "screen time" issue is a key element in the program.

"By encouraging people to move away from screens to become more physical in their activity, to interact with each other, to do things that are more proactive for one's health that...will hopefully cut down on this trend towards greater obesity and diabetes," said Jackson. 

Parents will likely be able to access the list of DASH certified programs some time this summer. 

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