The National Restaurant Association praised First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative aimed at encouraging chefs to “adopt” local schools in the campaign to eliminate childhood obesity.

”We commend the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama for engaging America’s chefs in this important effort, and we are pleased to have played a part,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Chefs play a critical role in influencing our diets and eating habits. They inspire trends and cooking styles, bringing out the best in our food. Chefs are leaders in their communities, helping to fight childhood obesity in schools, and in their roles as creators of America’s restaurant and foodservice menus.

“Many members of the National Restaurant Association are encouraging their chefs and cooks to volunteer their time and expertise to get involved,” Sweeney says. “The Association is committed to encouraging and facilitating this involvement, and we look forward to helping others do so. We also want to take the opportunity to honor those chefs and cooks who have gone beyond volunteerism to make a career choice to work in schools full-time and are working to improve the health and well-being of our children each day.

“The National Restaurant Association is committed to providing training and education on food and healthy living. The NRAEF’s ProStart program, our culinary and management training program for high school students, incorporates education on nutrition and healthy foods into its curriculum. The program operates in nearly every state and reaches more than 83,000 for the 2009-2010 academic year.”

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