Children are eating healthier thanks to Chefs Move to Schools

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In 2010, the United States government launched the Let’s Move initiative, a program designed to combat childhood obesity. When the White House wrote the memorandum President Barak Obama tasked First Lady Michelle Obama to lead a national public awareness effort to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity, saying “Across our country, childhood obesity has reached epidemic rates and, as a result, our children may live shorter lives than their parents”

Now in its sixth year, the program has a long list of accomplishments and collaborations.

One of these initiatives is Chefs Move to School. Since the program’s development in 2012, 2,400 chefs and nearly 4,000 schools have signed up to work together, teaching kids about healthy eating and helping cafeteria staff prepare healthier meals.

Sharon Schaefer, a chef from Nebraska, has been one of the featured chefs for the initiative, receiving accolades which she shares on her Facebook page, and twitter account.

Another active participant of the program, Rebecca Polson,the head chef for Metro Nashville Public Schools, posted on her twitter page the rewarding experiences that herself and the schools gain when kids eat healthy. An advocate for healthy eating, Polson posts pictures of the healthy food she serves her students and the hard work that goes into producing the meals.

The Green Schools National Network, an organization that highlights sustainability and conscious lifestyle in the classroom, has been a supporter of Chefs Move to School, sharing stories of Chefs Move to Schools and supporting other organizations that participate in the movement, such as DC Greens, whose mission is “to use the power of partnerships to support food education, food access, and food policy so that all students can have these kinds of experiences. As part of our effort to build an equitable, sustainable food system, we believe in putting food education on the menu in every District classroom”

This trend has even gone international, sparking United Kingdom top chef Nicole Pisani to leave a high-end restaurant job to serve food to grade-schoolers, grabbing the attention of major news publications, including the UK’s leading news source, the Independent. In the article, Pisani discussed her own food education idea, a training center for school cooks, students and their families, and anyone else interested within the community. Pasani said, “We’ve made the school dinners work here, the chefs are trained; the last step is to get the kids into the kitchen to understand the food. On her twitter account, Pisani shares news of the student’s reactions and her own successes.

“We are going to need everyone’s time and talent to solve the childhood obesity epidemic and our Nation’s chefs have tremendous power as leaders on this issue because of their deep knowledge of food and nutrition and their standing in the community.” Said First Lady Obama on the Chefs Move to School website, “I want to thank them for joining the Let’s Move! Campaign.”

For more information about the Let’s Move! program and how you can get involved, visit http://www.letsmove.gov/.

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