National School Lunch Week aims to fight obesity - - Jackson, MS

National School Lunch Week aims to fight obesity

By Ashley Porter - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Cheers at Galloway Elementary School echo through the hallway. 

"Go Galloway! Go Galloway!"

Students shake sparkly pom-poms in the air as they repeat, "Go Galloway! Go Galloway!"

But it's not a football game these students are excited about. They're kicking off National School Lunch Week. For kindergartener Hailey Smith at Lee Elementary School, it's a chance to try new food.

"Apples, corn, and I don't know what that other thing is, but it tastes like tacos," Smith said. The week is also a chance for her to learn more about making healthy choices.

"I really like the apples," said Smith. 

For former NFL running back Lewis Tillman, who played college football for Jackson State University, it's a chance to pass on his nutrition knowledge to an eager group of students at Lee Elementary.

"When I was their age, my mother kind of had my diet," said Tillman. "She only cooked certain things and if you wanted to eat, you had to eat that. I didn't like it. But she made me eat it," Tillman said about the way he learned to eat healthy. 

And for Dr. Janey Thornton, an undersecretary from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it's a chance to pass along an important message to parents.

"The main thing that parents need to understand is what children are learning and the habits that they're developing now, both at school and at home," said Thornton. "[Childhood obesity] is something that probably won't turn around overnight, but I think we can make great strides."

She hopes the message promoted by National School Lunch Week will also help students like Smith.

"I think [healthy food] makes me be strong, grow up," Smith said.

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