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Saunders Joins First Lady on Agenda for School Nutrition Conference

Mar 05, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the School Nutrition Association Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C. this week to highlight her newly launched "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity. IDFA Vice President Ruth Saunders, also on the program, applauded the initiative and outlined several key ways that the dairy industry can provide support.

Speaking before an audience of more than 750 attendees, the First Lady acknowledged that "most people don't know how the cafeteria is one of the most important classrooms in the school." She urged them to rally the country around the goal of helping today's kids to reach a healthy weight by the time they become adults. (Photo courtesy of Rick Brady/©School Nutrition Association.)

Saunders followed the First Lady's remarks and began her presentation by highlighting the Milk Processor Education Program's latest ad, which ran in three major newspapers on Monday. With the headline, "Let's raise a glass of milk to Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Program," the ad agreed that small changes, like drinking fat-free milk, can make a positive difference in child's diet.

She then mentioned the important strides in research and development and new product reformulations that the dairy industry has made recently. These reformulations, she explained, will allow schools to serve a variety of healthy, nutrient-rich products with fewer calories and reduced fat levels. While noting that flavored milk has been formulated with fewer calories, Saunders highlighted the milk industry's commitment to the voluntary beverage standards put forth by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

She also discussed how cheese companies working with school districts and other food suppliers have reformulated popular school entrees, like cheese pizza, to incorporate whole wheat crusts, reduced-sodium sauces and reduced-fat cheeses. Although the reformulated products may cost more than traditional formulations, Saunders explained that kids easily accepted the healthier choices and the schools noticed an increase in school lunch participation rates.

For more information, contact Saunders at Read her full remarks here.


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