This is Public Health

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Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer, will soon help address financial barriers to healthy eating by reducing prices on produce and removing premiums for “better-for-you” items including whole grain pasta and reduced sodium goods. The company is also adding a new, front-of-package seal to make healthy foods more easily recognizable, and it is reformulating its Great Value brand and requesting national brands to reduce sodium by 25% and sugars by 10%. See the press release to read more about Walmart’s healthy and affordable food initiative.

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Kids may be getting brown rice and chopped spinach at their school cafeterias soon, and liking it too! First Lady Michelle Obama and the USDA launched the Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition last September, encouraging teams of nutritionists, chefs and students to develop nutritious and kid-approved recipes for school lunch menus. To check out the rice and spinach recipe, as well as fourteen others in the semi-finals, click here.

As part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to help fight childhood obesity, thousands of students took part in a flash workout earlier this week. Kids at hundreds of middle schools around the country danced the same dance to Beyonce’s song and video “Move Your Body” at exactly the same time. Check out the Let’s Move video above. Also this week In New Orleans, the School Health Connection program introduced a pilot brief physical activity lesson called Instant Recess® in several public high schools. Instant Recess® is a 10-minute, moderate intensity physical activity break that can easily be implemented in classrooms and can enhance children’s physical activity and potentially classroom performance as well.  After completing its initial Instant Recess pilot this Spring, School Health Connection is scheduled to expand Instant Recess® within additional schools in the 2011 – 2012 school year.

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Congress has passed a child nutrition bill designed to promote better eating habits by setting standards for food sold in vending machines and other venues on school grounds. The $4.5 billion measure provides more money to poor areas to subsidize healthier meals and requires schools to abide by health guidelines drafted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes adding more fruits and vegetables as food options. Read more about how the bill will promote healthy eating in schools.

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As part of the national Let’s Move campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama has announced the Apps for Healthy Kids Challenge, a contest for professional and amateur web developers to submit ideas for online games and mobile apps that promote healthy lifestyles for kids. Learn more about the challenge and submit an application at www.AppsforHealthyKids.com

With over one-third of America’s children overweight or obese, the federal government is pooling resources and partnering with state and local leaders to fight the battle of the bulge. First lady Michelle Obama is set to spearhead efforts to make healthy living easier for American families by creating healthy school lunch programs, allowing kids more opportunities to be physically active and providing communities with access to healthy food options. As part of the program new PSAs have begun airing that feature special characters that appeal to kids.  Read the whole story.