Commander in Chef

700 culinary experts pledge help for Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign

A sea of white shirts took Pennsylvania Avenue by storm Friday.

More than 700 of the nation’s top chefs headed to the White House en masse to partner with the first lady in her anti-obesity program.

That's a huge crowd to have over for a pleasant afternoon at the presidential manse, but Michelle Obama needs a lot of help as Americans continue to pack on the pounds. When it comes to getting the collective weight of the nation down, it takes an army.

Before their dramatic walk to the White House, the chefs met at the JW Marriott Hotel, where they cooked up a unique plan to raise the nutrition level in schools across the country. Each chef will adopt a school.

This pledge is a comprehensive undertaking. The chefs will give tips to school officials to offer healthy, tasty cafeteria food. That may sound like an oxymoron, but these talented chefs are determined to pull off the task. They will also talk with kids and parents about nutritious food and become part of their schools' communities, raising awareness about eating well and keeping the pounds down.

Obama also asked the chefs to get involved in their towns -- putting on cooking demonstrations, starting cooking clubs and helping school children start their own vegetable gardens.

This is all a part of the first lady’s comprehensive program to fight childhood obesity by getting kids exercising and eating right. Other recent first ladies also took on substantial programs on behalf of children and families. Reading and education were important to Laura Bush. Barbara Bush started the Family Literacy Plan.  And although Hillary Clinton’s first major initiative for the Clinton Health Plan failed, she played a major role in the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

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