Last week, 14 Chicago Public Schools were honored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the White House for their commitment to student health and wellness. They joined schools from across the nation being recognized for their participation in the HealthierUS Schools Challenge, one component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign , which aims to raise awareness around issues such as physical activity and nutrition.
Prior to the appearance of First Lady Obama at the event, John A Walsh Elementary School student Alex R. read an essay he wrote about how participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge has raised his awareness of health and wellness. View the presentation by First Lady Obama , including her salute to Alex.
My name is Alex R., I am 11 years old and in 5th grade. At Walsh, I have taken part in several programs that have helped me make healthy choices. For example, Chicago Running Mates, Urban Initiative, Pilsen Tennis Camp and Boot Camp. With the Chicago Running Mates I have completed nice 5k's and two 8k's. Improving my time with every race I complete. Urban Initiatives helps promote the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rules. 5-fruits and vegetables, 4-servings of water, 3-servings of low fat diary, 2-hours or less of screen time, and 1 hour or more of physical activity. They also help build team work and discipline through soccer. Pilsen Tennis Camp was a lot of fun, learning a new sport and staying active. Boot Camp has been hard, but I have learned to stay active and build my strength.
Through my participation in all of these programs I have learned to make better food choices. I have changed my eating habits, instead of eating junk food I eat fruits, like apples, bananas and grapes.
Walsh has also taken steps to encourage good eating habits by removing chocolate milk from the menu and adding a salad bar. We also participate in physical activity for the Chicago Run Program on a daily basis and have gym class at least twice a week. Urban Initiatives has soccer practice twice a week and a game every Friday.
Walsh has provided me with opportunities to improve my health and make better choices for myself. After participating in these programs at Walsh, I have a clearer view of what I should eat and how important it is for me to exercise.
The Chicago Running Mates are presently training for the 2011 Elvis is Alive 5k this fall, so wish us luck, Thanks!
Learn more about Walsh.
Learn more about the HealthierUS School Challenge.
(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)