By Christina Huynh
President Bill Clinton honored 267 U.S. schools that were recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for creating healthier environments on Monday at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.
But before Clinton took the stage, he accidentally tripped.
“I just proved two things at once — I can be both clumsy and balanced at the same time,” he said, earning laughter from the audience.
In his speech, Clinton congratulated the 250 school representatives in attendance on striving to make a difference in healthy eating and physical activity habits in students’ lives. The recognized schools received a Bronze, Silver or Gold level based on the standards they achieved that were set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generations.
The organization was founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works with more than 18,000 schools nationwide and with more than 11 million students to combat childhood obesity.
“I want to say how grateful I am for all of you,” he said. “This is such a big deal. There’s no bad news here so you may not make the headline.”
Clinton — who had an open-heart surgery in Feb. 2010 — stressed the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, saying, “You can’t diet your way out of good exercise, and you certainly can’t exercise without a good diet.”
Clinton said that despite running about 20 to 25 miles weekly for most of his adult life, he still had to have heart surgery.
At the end of his speech, Clinton asked the Wilkerson Elementary School principal Juan Munoz to join him on stage for the school’s efforts in increasing healthy diets and exercise for its students.
“You might never get the headline if you’re making something good happen,” Clinton said. “I hope today you all get headlines back home. You deserve it.”