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First lady lauds efforts to bring healthy eating to after-school programs

MIAMI — First lady Michelle Obama stopped at a Miami rec center Tuesday to continue her fight against childhood obesity by ensuring that children are staying healthy throughout their day, including after the school bell rings.

She announced that two of the nation's largest after-school providers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Recreation and Park Association, have committed to creating healthier environments for 5 million kids in their programs.

Nearly 5,400 clubs and sites will serve a fruit or vegetable at each meal or snack along with healthier drink options, including lower fat milk and water.

They also will ensure kids get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day and educate kids about the importance of staying active.

"For so many kids there's still that two- or three-hour gap after that school bell rings when their lives aren't always structured, when parents don't know who they are hanging out with … or what they're putting in their body," Obama said.

Obama launched the Let's Move program in 2010 to promote a more active and healthy lifestyle in a nation where obesity has become an increasing problem.

Earlier Tuesday in Washington, she announced new rules that will be proposed by the White House and the Agriculture Department to limit marketing of unhealthy foods in schools. The new proposals follow USDA regulations that are now requiring foods in the school lunch line to be healthier.

Tampa Bay area school district meal plans

Here is a look at what bay area districts are doing to make school food healthier.

Hillsborough County

• Follows federal guidelines for school lunches and offers healthier items a la carte.

• Vending machines already contain low-sugar drinks, but the district is exploring ways to improve selections.

• More than 15,000 students and parents use an app with nutritional content of menus.

Pinellas County

• Has longtime policy against advertising food products in schools.

• Lunches have complied with federal guidelines on sugar, fat and salt content for at least two years.

• Starting July 1, no more sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks, such as fries, sold on campus.

Pasco County

• All food served in schools complies with guidelines from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

• District gets greater control of vending when its contract with Coca-Cola expires June 30.

Hernando County

• Vending drinks and snacks conform with federal guidelines. Only diet sodas, sports drinks, 100 percent juice drinks and water.

First lady lauds efforts to bring healthy eating to after-school programs 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:51pm]
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