Education A National Roundup

Bill Clinton Promotes Healthier Habits for Youngsters

By Ann Bradley — May 10, 2005 1 min read

Former President Bill Clinton joined forces with the American Heart Association last week to announce a 10-year campaign to combat childhood obesity and promote healthier lifestyles.

Mr. Clinton and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared May 3 at New York City’s Public School 128 in Harlem to announce the initiative, which is aimed at children ages 9 to 13. Both Mr. Clinton, a Democrat, and Mr. Huckabee, a Republican, talked about their own struggles with their weight and related health problems.

Mr. Clinton faulted “decades of poor eating habits” for his recent heart surgery and said the experience prompted him to want to help other people. “I was overweight as a kid,” the former president said.

And Mr. Huckabee, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2003, lost 110 pounds and in March completed the Little Rock Marathon. This month, he’s scheduled to release his fourth book, Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork.

The initiative will include work with schools to provide standards to improve the food served in cafeterias and vending machines and to encourage young people to be more physically active in school. In the fall, the campaign will unveil an interactive Web site for young people that will highlight physical activity and good nutrition.

In addition, the organizers will work with the food and restaurant industry, the media, and community groups.