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Kicking Off National Nutrition Month with Healthy School Meals

To celebrate National Nutrition Month, Let's Move! is featuring stories from every state across the country about schools serving healthier meals. You'll hear from kids, parents, teachers, school chefs, and others about the incredible work happening to make sure kids get the nutrition they need to succeed in school and in life. To celebrate the Let's Move! third anniversary, the First Lady made a stop at  Northside and Eastside Elementary Schools in Clinton, Mississippi to highlight a great example of a community coming together and making effective changes.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Rachael Ray talk with students at Eastside and Northside Elementary Schools in Clinton, Miss., Feb. 27, 2013. The Clinton Public School District in Mississippi mobilized the entire community to make healthy schools a top priority and implemented district-wide changes to bring physical activity and nutritious choices to students – all with no additional funding. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama praised the work of Mississippi leaders, the Clinton Public School District, parents, teachers, community leaders, school chefs, and kids themselves. From healthy school food to coordinated school health programs to physical activity in classrooms, the school district has made incredible strides in implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and new school meals

Clinton mobilized the entire community to make their schools healthier to support their children’s physical wellness and academic achievement. With leadership from the Superintendent, Board of Education, parents, students and community leaders, Clinton made healthy schools a top priority and implemented district-wide changes to bring physical activity and nutritious choices to students – all without additional funding.

In 2008, the Clinton School District performed a district-wide assessment of all aspects of school wellness through school health councils and the child nutrition director for the district. From the assessment, the district formed a plan to provide healthier school environments across the district through coordinated school health programming, which encouraged each school to form a school health council with students, parents, faculty, and community members.

  • Clinton then implemented a district-wide wellness policy that paved the way for its community to get involved in the effort to build healthier schools.
  • Clinton school cafeterias offer Grab-N-Go lunches in school cafeterias as a healthy, affordable alternative to lunches brought from home.
  • The district held a “Taste of CPSD” healthy recipe contest for students and brought in a professional chef to train child nutrition employees to get kids, parents, and employees excited about cooking and eating healthy foods.
  • Clinton also partnered with the Mississippi Department of Education and the Bower Foundation on the statewide “Move to Learn” campaign with the goal of increasing physical activity in classrooms.

In 2011, a health and wellness goal was added to Clinton Public School District’s strategic plan, making the health and wellness of its students and employees one of the district’s top five strategic plan goals, as important as academic achievement, recruiting and retaining great teachers and providing safe, technology friendly facilities. Today there are a number of programs and activities in place throughout the school district to encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Clinton’s schools were able to increase fruits and vegetables for student meals, ensure that nutrition education was taught in the classroom, and incorporate physical activity throughout the school day.

First Lady Michelle Obama just finished a nationwide tour celebrating the change happening across the nation, from new school lunches to decreases in childhood obesity rates. Clinton was one of three tour stops celebrating the Let's Move! third anniversary. She applauded the efforts of leaders at all levels and encouraged the country to keep working together for our children's health.