Veggies, Hula Hoops and the Future of School Food: HSC at the White House Healthy Kids Fair

October 22, 2009

By Rochelle Davis, Founding Executive Director

Yesterday I had the pleasure and privilege of participating
in Healthy Kids Fair at the White House. It was a fun event with an important message and I was thrilled that Healthy Schools Campaign was able to be part of it.

Of
course I've been following
the First Lady's work promoting healthy food and fitness, especially around
the White House Garden and the farmers market. But being able to
actually participate in an event at the White House and hear first-hand
her comments about promoting healthy eating
at home and in schools, seeing her interact with children eating
healthy
food and engaging in physical activity was a real treat. And yes, she
actually did the hula hoop (142 rotations, according to the AP) and jumped rope.  

Amidst
her
strong message about the need for healthy eating and physical
activity, Mrs. Obama’s comments were humorous and filled with practical
advice. The event included a policy announcement –  expanding the
USDA’s
existing Healthier Schools USA program — that was great though not
really game-changing in the movement for healthier school food.

But the First Lady's involvement clearly demonstrates a
strong commitment by the Administration to improving school food.  In fact,
Secretary of Agriculture Vlisack told the crowd at the fair that when President Obama asked
him to become the Secretary of Agriculture, the President told him that
improving school food needed to be his top priority.

As
I left this event, I couldn't help but think of something that many of
us who care about kids' wellness have been saying again and again
lately: it really is a new day for school food and fitness.

Seeing
this type of enthusiasm for veggies and hula hoops coming from the
White House is more than just encouraging and fun: it changes the
conversations we have about good food and physical activity by creating
a climate in which these things are valued and applauded.