WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Childhood obesity is a rapidly growing problem here in America. Exercise and healthy eating are activities that many children today have moved away from.
Studies estimate that 4% of kids in the United States are extremely obese, but First Lady Michelle Obama is making it her mission to change that. Earlier this month, she held a summit of chefs to discuss ways to make kids eat healthier. Chef David Pantone, the Dean of the Lincoln Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, was one of those in attendance.
"It was just amazing to see all of these people from all over the country, who all share a passion for food and a passion for helping children through feeding them better," says Pantone.
The First Lady's campaign aims to help kids develop healthy living habits through exercising and eating, and she asked the nearly 500 chefs in attendance to join the fight.
"Her message to us was really, I need each of you chefs to talk to all of your chefly friends around the country," says Pantone, "and [I want] each of you to adopt a school."
Chef Pantone is doing just that. He is teaming up with Palm Beach County schools to help conquer childhood obesity by 2015.
"It needs to be a holistic approach," says Pantone, "from going in and doing a demonstration just to one class, to working with the people in the food service department to changing the menus, to creating a garden outside where children can really see where food comes from."
This pilot program will start at Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach, and will involve turning the school's cafeteria into a food court with a wider variety of food selections. The construction on the food court will be done by August 2011. In the meantime, all Palm Beach County schools can expect to see programs and presentations on healthier eating habits as soon as this upcoming fall.
For any local chef looking to join in the fight, click here .
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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