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Chefs Answer the First Lady's Call to Join Let's Move!

Chefs Move to Schools program to help educate kids about food and nutrition

THE WHITE HOUSE – More than 500 chefs filled the South Lawn of the White House today to join First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation.  Participating chefs have answered Mrs. Obama’s call to get involved by joining the Chefs Move to Schools program, run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

“Children consume as many as half of their daily calories at school, and with more than 31 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 11 million participating in the National School Breakfast Program, good nutrition at school is more important than ever,” said Mrs. Obama.  “Chefs have tremendous power as leaders on this issue because of their deep knowledge of food and nutrition and their ability to deliver these messages in a fun and delicious way and I want to thank them for joining the Chefs Move to Schools campaign.” 

The Let’s Move! campaign is engaging every sector impacting the health of children to achieve the national goal, and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.  Chefs in the Chefs Move to Schools program will adopt a school in their community and work with teachers, parents, school nutritionists and administrators to help educate kids about food and nutrition, create healthy meals that meet the schools’ dietary guidelines and budgets, and teach young people about making balanced and healthy choices.

At the launch of the Let’s Move! campaign, Mrs. Obama announced that the Obama Administration, with the private sector and the non-profit community, will take the following steps to get healthier food in our nation’s schools:   

Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act: The Administration requested an historic investment to improve the quality of the National School Lunch and Breakfast program with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products and increase the number of kids participating in these programs.  The Administration is also working to make sure schools are prepared to provide nutritious meals, through training for school food service workers and grants for upgraded kitchen equipment that were recently awarded to schools.

The Reauthorization bill is moving through Congress with bipartisan support. A majority of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives from both parties have signed letters calling for swift passage of a bill

Double the number of schools participating in the Healthier US School Challenge:  The Healthier US School Challenge establishes rigorous standards for schools’ food quality, participation in meal programs, physical activity, and nutrition education – the key components that make for healthy and active kids – and provides recognition for schools that meet these standards. Over the next school year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working with partners in schools and the private sector, will double the number of schools that meet the Healthier US School Challenge and add 1,000 schools per year for two years after that.  

Key stakeholder groups also committed to improve the nutritional quality of school meals across the country including:

Major School Food Suppliers:  Sodexho, Chartwells School Dining Services, and Aramark committed to meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations within five years to decrease the amount of sugar, fat and salt in school meals; increase whole grains; and double the amount of produce they serve within 10 years. 

School Nutrition Association:  The School Nutrition Association (SNA), which represents food service workers in more than 75% of the nation’s schools, has committed to increasing education and awareness of the dangers of obesity among their members and the students they serve, and ensuring that the nutrition programs in 10,000 schools meet the Healthier US School Challenge standards over the next five years.

School Leadership:  Working with school food service providers and SNA, the National School Board Association, the Council of Great City Schools and the American Association of School Administrators Council committed to meeting, the national Let’s Move! goal.  The Council of Great City Schools has also has set a goal of having every urban school meet the Healthier US Schools gold standard within five years.  The American Association of School Administrators has committed to ensuring that an additional 2,000 schools meet the challenge over the next two years.  These combined efforts will touch 50 million students and their families in every school district in America.

Chefs interested in joining the Chefs Move to Schools initiative can do so by going to www.letsmove.gov and clicking on the Chefs Move to Schools button.

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