|Updated: 10/22/2012 8:03 am
||Published: 10/21/2012 7:19 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - President Bill Clinton and celebrity fitness expert Billy Blanks, Tara Stiles, and Bob Harper help honor more than 250 schools for fighting childhood obesity.
5 of the schools recognized are in Arkansas: Eagle Mountain Elementary School in Batesville, Anna Strong Middle School in Marianna, Whitten Elementary School in Marianna, Avondale Elementary School in West Memphis, and Marion Elementary School in Marion.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. Schools participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation received recognition for transforming their campuses into healthier places for students and staff.
President Bill Clinton spoke about his own health issues, starting as a child and continuing as an adult, requiring heart surgery. President Clinton says the next generation needs to make important changes in health now so the country can reduce health care costs. "If you want your children to grow up in a country where if they work hard and get an education, and get a good job to give them a brighter future, we can't spend a trillion dollars more a year than everyone else does to cover our people with health care."
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation promotes increased physical activity and healthier nutrition options in schools. The President of the American Heart Association, Donna Arnett, says, "One out of three children is overweight or obese and our schools are great venues for informing kids about how to be healthy."
The goal of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is to make healthy schools the norm, not the exception. Ginny Ehrlich, CEO for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation says, "The schools recognized today represent only about 1% of all the schools in the United States."
Celebrity fitness expert Billy Blanks, known for his Tao Bow workouts, says a way to spread the message to children is leading by example. "I think what they're doing with the kids now is showing them physical fitness and healthy eating is more of a communication tool."
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was launched in 2006 and currently serves 15,000 schools across the country.