First lady, 'Top Chef' judges host healthy cook-off with DISD students

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on February 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 1:19 AM

DALLAS - A Dallas recreation center swarmed with activity this morning as first lady Michelle Obama made a stop at the location, along with some Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Independent School District students and some famous chefs from the popular show "Top Chef."

The first lady's stop at the East Dallas recreation center was short, but she left a lifetime of memories for dozens of Dallas ISD students, as well as a challenge to exercise more and eat healthier.

The first lady chose to kick off year two of her Let's Move! campaign at the center because of its close proximity to the Nancy Mosely Elementary School, one of several schools in the district receiving a gold status for making healthy changes to its lunch menu.

Early this morning, a full security sweep took place to make sure everything was safe. Kleberg-Rylie Recreation Center opened its doors around 7:45 a.m. No walk-ins were allowed at the event, which kicked off at 9:45 a.m.

The first lady was greeted to screams, students asking for autographs and glee as she ran up and down the bleachers giving high fives. Students started to chant, "Let's Move" in unison when her star-studded group of celebrity chefs and several Dallas Cowboys players, including DeMarcus Ware and Felix Jones, were introduced. 

The group assembled highlighted work being done in schools across America to provide students with healthier food options. The subject is a personal one for the first lady, a mother of two who has battled her own weight issues and has become concerned about the obesity epidemic in the nation. Nearly one-third of children in the United States are overweight. In Texas, the obesity rate is more than 30 percent.

Before a cooking demonstration began, the chefs were broken down into three groups and had 30 minutes to prepare a healthy, good-tasting meal. The competition was stiff, but all three were crowned winners by Obama.

The first lady did not give any one-on-one interviews, but she did speak at the podium, thanking DISD's head of food and nutrition for setting a national example. DISD has more schools recognized by the USDA than any other district in the entire country for making healthy changes to its school menu.

Obama also announced a new website created to encourage chefs to get involved with local schools to develop new healthy recipes that taste good.

The event wrapped up Obama's whirlwind visit to Texas. She was in Fort Worth Thursday and is now headed to Florida.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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