LITTLE ROCK, AR — Former President Bill Clinton addressed representatives from 170 schools at the first Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Forum in late July. More than 200 schools from 12 states, including many schools where children are most at risk for obesity, are part of the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program's pilot year and will receive support to make their school healthier.

Clinton encouraged participants to be agents of change in their communities and gave guidance to schools nationwide about creating healthy environments for their students and staff members by announcing the Alliance's Healthy Schools Criteria. The forum, which is being held at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, AR, is sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. The forum marks the launch of the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program.

To address the root causes of childhood obesity, the Alliance recognizes not just the role played by nutrition, but also the need for environments like playgrounds that encourage kids to be physically active. That is why after announcing the Healthy Schools Criteria, Clinton announced a partnership with KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization that envisions a place to play within walking distance of every child. The organization hopes to mobilize communities to build new playgrounds in a number of pilot schools across the country.

In February, the Alliance announced the Healthy Schools Program, a criteria-based recognition program that rewards schools for creating a healthier place for students to learn. The criteria outlines standards that address food offerings in school cafeterias and competitive foods, physical activity during and after the school day, physical education and health education, and staff wellness programs. Schools across the country can apply for recognition at the bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels. The criteria can be found on the Alliance Web site at http://www.HealthierGeneration.org.