by Graham Shelby

Nearly 300 Kentucky schools have earned special recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama and the US Department of Agriculture for efforts to fight childhood obesity.

Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! program just completed its first year and in that time more schools from Kentucky than other state have met the requirements of the U.S. Healthier Schools Challenge by making improvements in the nutritional value of school meals and the quality of physical and health education. Those schools are eligible for financial rewards of up to $2000.

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan says Kentuckians should be commended for the achievement, but childhood obesity is too big and too complicated to be solved by a federal program.

“We need parents to be saying this is a priority for us. We need school boards and we need local committees. Everyone needs to be a part of this game. It’s not going to be solved in Washington. It’s got to be all hands on deck,” she says.

Seventy-seven Louisville elementary schools are among those in Kentucky that received special recognition for following the U.S. Healthier Schools Challenge.

Despite that, Kentucky has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation. According to one study, 37 percent of Kentucky’s children are overweight or obese.

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