Alex, 12, was honored at the White House on Monday as first lady Michelle Obama applauded 1,273 schools that have joined the HealthierUS School Challenge. One is Alex's Walsh Elementary School in the Pilsen neighborhood. Schools qualify for the program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by serving more-nutritious foods, teaching students about nutrition and promoting physical activity.
Now in sixth grade, Alex told hundreds gathered to honor the participating schools that he's ditched junk food, completed a dozen races and taken up soccer and tennis. He said he follows the "5-4-3-2-1 rules." Those daily rules dictate five servings of fruits and vegetables, four servings of water, three servings of low-fat dairy products, two hours or less of screen time and one hour or more of physical activity.
He was accompanied by his principal, Krish Mohip, and mother, Brenda Fonseca, a math teacher at Walsh.
"We're so proud of Alex and the thousands of young people just like him that are improving their lives," Obama said.
Obama will appear in Chicago on Oct. 25 at a summit with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on the problem of "food deserts," or areas that lack grocery stores and access to nutritious foods, said Hannah August, a spokeswoman for Obama.
One element of her "Let's Move" program is to make it easier for families to get healthy foods, August said.