Friday, February 03, 2012

TOP STORY >> First lady plans visit to air base

Leader staff writer

Michelle Obama will make a stop at Little Rock Air Force Base on Thursday to promote the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move!” initiative geared toward fighting childhood obesity.

While here, she will make an announcement about the military’s efforts to improve the nutritional content of food served throughout military bases, according to a White House press release Friday.

The base is one of six military installations taking part in a special pilot program designed to improve the quality, variety and availability of their food service, according to 2nd Lt. Mallory Glass, 19th Airlift Wing public affairs chief.

The first lady will be briefed about the healthy eating habits of airmen and tour the dining facility. She will sit down and eat with about 40 airmen and discuss how they feel about the pilot program.

“We are greatly excelling,” Glass says of the pilot program. “Use of the dining facility has increased due to the healthy options. It’s not just airmen who can dine there—anyone allowed on base can eat there.”

“It (the pilot program) ties in well with her initiative,” Glass said. “She takes a keen interest in military families.”

The three-day tour kicks off in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday morning and makes stops at Jacksonville, Fort Worth and Dallas, as well as Homestead, Orlando and Longwood, Fla.

“Let’s Move!” was launched Feb. 9, 2010, with the intent to resolve childhood obesity. Since its launch, the initiative has made significant progress in its efforts, has been made to solve the problem of childhood obesity.

According to a White House press release, some of the initiative’s accomplishments include:

President Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. In January the USDA released school meal regulations updating the quality of nutrition through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs. The updates to the regulations will allow more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to be served at schools, as well as meals with less sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.

Grocers, including Walmart and Walgreens, have committed to build or expand 1,500 stores in communities with little to no access to healthy food. Approximately 9.5 million people will now have healthier food choices available to them.

Walmart’s Nutrition Charter committed to lowering the cost of fruits and vegetables as well as healthier options like whole grain products by $1 billion in 2011. In addition, Walmart pledged to work with manufacturers to remove 10 percent sugar and 25 percent sodium in categories throughout the store. For more information, visit