(June 2, 5:45 p.m.) The Produce Marketing Association’s “Crunch the Numbers” elementary school curriculum has received an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives & the Center for Association Leadership.

Designed to help third- and fourth-grade teachers educate their students on critical math skills and healthy eating habits, the Newark, Del.-based association funds the curriculum through a contribution to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s Campaign for Children’s Health and Scholastic Inc.

“One of PMA’s missions is to grow consumption of fruits and vegetables. Up to this point we did it through our support of the Better Health Campaign and Fruit and Vegetables More Matters,” said public relations director Julia Stewart. “As we’ve been looking around, we looked at dietary guidelines and the disparity between what Americans eat and what they should be eating, and based on exploding rates of childhood obesity, we thought the time was right for a kid-focused program.”

The association distributed more than 10,000 “Crunch the Numbers” kits last fall, and e-mailed another 100,000 teachers, Stewart said.

Additionally, the correlating Web site has received an average of 1,700 unique visitors a month since February and reached a total of 1.6 million students, Stewart said.

The association has also encouraged its members to become involved in the program.

“In January, we sent copies of the curriculum to all of our members,” Stewart said. “Scholastic is trying to reach the teachers and we used it for our members to make local connections and take it to their areas … (It’s) an easy and fun way for our members to make local connections.”

One of only 18 programs to receive the 2008 Award of Excellence, the program is in the running for additional awards, Stewart said.