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Bethlehem, PA Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Let’s Move!

In honor of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, officials from the City of Bethlehem, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Education, Highmark Blue Shield and cheerleaders from the Philadelphia Eagles, along with students, parents, and teachers from Broughal Middle School, joined together on Friday, February 4, 2011 to celebrate the efforts undertaken by the city and school to promote physical activity and healthy food choices.

"Our goal is to make Bethlehem one of the healthiest cities in the country," explained Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan.  Following a lively performance by Broughal’s band and color guard, Mayor Callahan announced the award of two new grants to purchase an irrigation system and other tools for the school’s greenhouse so that students will be able to grow vegetables that they will eventually be able to eat.  The grant money will also be used to purchase sports equipment for physical fitness programs that Broughal is implementing before and after school.

As Mayor Callahan pointed out, public schools can have a tremendous impact on children’s health on  "everything from the food they eat in the cafeteria to the play out on the playground."  Bethlehem’s accomplishments as a Let’s Move City include measuring BMI percentiles in daycare-age children to assist parents in improving nutrition and physical activity habits in the home; creating before and afterschool physical activity programs throughout the Bethlehem Area School District, and working to remove unhealthy drinks and snacks in the schools by replacing them with affordable, healthier options.

Former Broughal Middle School student Darrun Hilliard, who just earned a full scholarship to Villanova University to play basketball, also participated in the celebration.  Mr. Hilliard, currently a senior in high school, was recognized by Broughal Principal Ed Docalovich as a role-model who has achieved success by making a commitment to physical fitness and a healthy diet.

The crowd of over 700 people could not contain its enthusiasm when two Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders joined the other speakers on stage.  Amidst cheers and applause, the Eagles Cheerleaders talked about the importance of daily exercise and led the audience through a series of stretches.  Five Broughal students who participate in a fitness program twice a week an hour before school got to join the cheerleaders on stage for the stretches.  Having worked up an appetite after stretching, each member of the audience was given a banana or apple, donated by local grocery store Weis Markets, to snack on.