bill_clinton_web_fc_1.jpgEighteen Miami-Dade schools with predominantly African-American student bodies are among some 275 schools nationwide that have been recognized for taking steps to combat obesity and making their campuses healthier.

The recognition came from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation which was founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Former President Bill Clinton announced the honor during a recent Healthy Schools Forum in Little Rock, Ark.

Each school has distinguished itself with healthy eating and physical activity programs and policies that meet or exceed stringent standards set by the alliance’s Healthy Schools Program that provides expert advice and free resources to more than 12,000 schools nationwide.

The Miami-Dade schools that won recognition include Bay Point Middle and the following elementary schools: Barbara Hawkins, Carol City, Crestview, Crosspointe, Dr. Rober B. Ingram, Henry E.S. Reeves, Lakeview, Liberty City, Lincoln Park, Norland, North Miami, Pine Lake.

Also, Poinciana Park, Robert Russa Moton, Shadowlawn, Toussaint L’ouverture and William Jennings Bryan.

Moton Elementary was singled out for its health initiatives,  including the “Fitness Fridays” program in which members of the Student Health Ambassadors demonstrate physical activity movements to students in the lower elementary grades.  The Ambassadors visit classrooms or hold the demonstrations in the courtyard.

Moton also developed an indoor fitness trail where students and teachers have the opportunity to complete the posted physical activity as they move between classes.

Also,  staff members started a program called “Dream Dinners,” in which teachers meet and learn how to prepare healthy meals at home.

“We commend the dedication of our healthy schools for their efforts to offer students and staff nutritious meals and a variety of physical activity opportunities,” said Ginny Ehrlich, chief executive officer of the alliance. “Their success proves that despite academic pressures and budget constraints, schools can foster healthy lifestyles to benefit young people now and into the future.”