Look out Jamie Oliver, Bill Clinton may be taking over your job!
The former president has announced a new initiative to get kids healthier and provide more nutritious lunch options at 13,000 schools across the country. As part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the William J. Clinton Foundation has partnered with the American Heart Association to reduce childhood obesity nationwide by 2015 and get kids moving and eating better.
With nearly 25 million American kids overweight or obese today (that’s one in six kids who are heavy enough to be considered obese according to the CDC), schools are feeling the pressure to make some healthy changes. Urban schools in particular are seeing the effects of Clinton’s initiative which is helping them to switch from frozen to fresh foods, eliminate soda and get rid of deep fryers.
Clinton’s motivation to do all of this? His own health scare several years ago when he had emergency heart surgery and was forced to change his eating habits. He told the Today show that that was a wake-up call to what’s happening with our kids:
Children need enough food, the right kind of food, to grow and develop their bodies and their brains. When I had all these heart problems, I realized that all of this was totally unexamined.
In addition to making the rounds at several schools last week to praise those who are making healthier switches in the cafeteria, Clinton managed to get seven food companies to increase the sale of healthier items to schools by 50% over the next five years. The manufacturers also agreed to set prices that are no higher than less-healthy options, so schools should have no excuse for not choosing the more nutritious items.
What so great about this–aside from the fact that Clinton is committed to getting kids healthier–is that he is turning his health scare into something good. Not only has he radically changed his diet and become a vegan, but the former president is now motivated to do just as much good for others. And anything that helps to make kids healthier gets our seal of approval.
You go, Bill!