First Lady Launches Healthy Schools Initiative

    First Lady Michelle Obama recently campaigned in South Florida for her “Let’s Move!” healthy kids program, and unveiled a widespread expansion of after-school exercise and snack programs.

    “That’s not just good for kids. It’s also good for parents. They’ll know all their hard work isn’t being undermined every time [their kids] head off to school,” Obama told a small crowd at the Gladeview park’s recreation center.

    Most recently, the administration announced the elimination of sugary, fatty foods in vending machines and lunch line a la carte items starting in July. The proposed advertising ban, which is backed by the beverage industry, is an extension of the health food push.

    In her Miami stop, the First Lady celebrated what she said are the successes of her program, which has been adopted in every Miami-Dade public school. When the First Lady began her campaign, she aimed to reduce childhood obesity rates that had tripled during the past 30 years to the point that one in three children and adolescents was overweight or obese.

    Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study showing the prevalence of obesity among U.S. children fell to 8.1 percent from 14 percent a decade ago.

    “That’s the lowest rate we’ve seen in a very long time, so we’re beginning to make some real progress,” said Obama. “And none of this happened by accident.”

    Under the advertising proposals she announced Tuesday in Washington alongside Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the promotion of sugary drinks and junk foods would be phased out around campuses during the day. Gym score boards, cups, food menus and vending machines on school grounds, for instance, could no longer bear the images of M&Ms or colas. A Dasani water bottle or Diet Pepsi, however, would still be acceptable.

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