First lady tours Miss. schools to promote health, defeat obesity

JACKSON, Miss. — First lady Michelle Obama visited Jackson, Miss. Wednesday and watched children play on swings and a jungle gym at a school whose programs have been lauded for fighting obesity by keeping kids active.

It was the first of her two stops in Mississippi, which ranks No. 1 in childhood and adult obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first lady’s visit was part of her recently announced Let’s Move! campaign to promote school healthy habits at schools.

Maggie Benson White, who was putting up a poster outside Pecan Elementary School to welcome Mrs. Obama, said she hoped that the first lady’s visit would inspire healthy eating habits in her community and at inner-city schools.

“Our children are not eating properly. We have a lot of parents who don’t know how to serve nutritious meals. If we could teach them to let McDonald’s go, it would have a big impact,” said White, who is president of the West Park Neighborhood Association, where Pecan Park Elementary is located.

Mrs. Obama was joined at Pecan Elementary School by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha. School principal Wanda Quon told Mrs. Obama that the playground equipment was paid for with grants.