Did you hear?... Former President Clinton helps launch healthy schools program

Former President Bill Clinton is lending his name and helping to launch a program aimed to fight childhood obesity by promoting healthier food and more exercise in schools.
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Former President Bill Clinton is lending his name and helping to launch a program aimed to fight childhood obesity by promoting healthier food and more exercise in schools.

The program, called the Healthy Schools Program, will initially work with 253 schools in 13 states. The goal is to set standards for schools for healthier food and more exercise, help the schools meet those standards, and recognize and award schools that do. Standards will include improving nutritional value of food in school cafeterias, increasing physical activity during the school day and after school, implementing classroom lessons on healthy lifestyles, and starting similar programs for school staff.

The program will be a joint effort run by three organizations: the American Heart Association, the Clinton Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The RWJ Foundation has committed a grant of $8 million to the effort to be launched in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It will be run by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, which was formed in May 2005.

"To halt the epidemic of childhood obesity, we don't need a tipping point," says RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey in the announcement. "We need a pivot point, and school is it."

The program will place special emphasis on reaching schools that have limited resources and serve students of disadvantaged socioeconomic status.

"Every school day, 54 million young people attend nearly 123,000 schools across the country," said President Bill Clinton. "Influencing and enhancing the ability of schools to provide healthy environments could be one of the most effective ways to shape the health, education and well-being of our next generation."

Applications for the program will be available as of July 2006 at www.healthiergeneration.org or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. More information about the RWJ Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on health care issues, is available at www.rwjf.org.

SNEWS® View: Now it's extremely clear to us why Clinton will be speaking at the IHRSA meeting. What a great venue to kick off this initiative to the club sector. By the way, his talk is slated for Tuesday morning, March 21, and it may be tight to get into.

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