Hernando mayor travels to The White House to talk about obesity

By Chip Washington - bio | email

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - The mayor of a north Mississippi town recently traveled to Washington D.C. to speak with the First Lady about a growing epidemic.

Obesity is a big problem in the state of Mississippi, and now that problem is being passed on to the next generation.  In Hernando, Mayor Chip Johnson has been on a mission to encourage his residents to change their eating habits.

Recently, Michelle Obama took on the cause and invited Johnson to the White House to participate.

"I was very happy that she was bringing the spotlight to this issue, because I can't bring the spotlight to an issue like she can, so I think it's going to be great for our children statewide and nationwide," Johnson said.

To Johnson, obesity is not a partisan issue, it is something everyone should support and get behind.

Bryan Green, who at the popular Coleman's BBQ restaurant in Hernando, says Americans live a fast food lifestyle, and thinks that the solution to this problem should start at home.

"Even if you can't change their diets, at least change their lifestyles," he said. "Maybe get them more into extra curricular activities or sports, just something to keep them active during the day.

Johnson says the nation spent $142 billion on obesity related issues last year, but with a few small changes in habit, the problem be controlled.  For instance, children shoot eat food instead of treats or candy at meals.  Johnson also believes physical fitness time in schools should not be a casualty of Mississippi's current budget difficulties.

As for Johnson's experience at the White House.

"It was humbling to be invited there, look at all the history around me, and to stand in the Blue Room with the First Lady and three cabinet members," he said.

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