Nathanael Greene keeps students healthy with soccer, good food - FOX 32 News Chicago

Nathanael Greene keeps students healthy with soccer, good food

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign is making waves on the national level, so Good Day Chicago wanted to showcase a local school that is one of the healthiest in the city.

One out of every four Chicago Public Schools students is obese, and the first lady's exercise initiative is trying to change that.

SEE: Michelle Obama announces `Let`s Move` campaign in Chicago

But long before Mrs. Obama brought "Let's Move" to Chicago, McKinley Park's Nathanael Greene Elementary instituted a morning program to make sure their kids received at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, consumed food and drink based on a healthy nutrition program and remind them of how they can make better lifestyle choices.

Before the school day begins, 1st and 2nd graders in Nathanael Greene's soccer club gather at 7 a.m. to run around, practice their skills and get focused for the day ahead. In partnership with Illinois Youth Soccer, the elementary school offers these sessions every weekday morning and serves around 40 students.

Illinois Youth Soccer has about 15 sites in the city, where kids are able to play and exercise.

Greene Elementary also partnered with Chef Art Smith's Common Threads program to offer students a world cuisine class, made possible through grants.

In the kitchen, they learn how easy it is to make healthy meals and snacks, instead of reaching for candy or a bag of chips. Every week, the kids learn about a new culture and practice new skills. They learn that the food they eat determines their quality of life – with examples from America to Peru to Italy.

Common Threads has partnered with 25 other schools as well. The nonprofit organization and think tank is committed to teaching students, parents and the community about the power of healthy cooking.

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