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Gardening Added to Mexico City Anti-Obesity Program

June 24, 2015

As part of SaludArte, and the city's anti-obesity program, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa has instructed 110 public education institutions to install gardens in school yards and roof tops.

Mexico City - In the Federal District's ongoing efforts to fight obesity and encourage better nutrition among school-aged children, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa has instructed 110 public schools to install gardens in school yards and roof tops.

The urban garden project is part of SaludArte, a joint initiative of the city and federal governments that provides students at schools in marginalized communities with free hot food and special classes in theater, dance and other arts and exercise-oriented activities. Now those students will be doing some gardening, too.

The mayor introduced the plan during a healthy cooking class for SaludArte students called 'Cooking to Combat Child Obesity.' During the event, Mancera Espinosa visited with the children, while chefs Enrique Olvera and Arturo Fernandez prepared tasty dishes using roasted nopal (cactus), quintonil (amaranth greens), verdolaga (Purslane greens), beans, and other nutritious vegetables.

During the event, the Mayor announced that Chefs Daniel Ovadia, Edgar Nunez, Jose Ramon Castillo and Monica Patino are putting together a collection of recipes for simple, affordable and nutritious Mexican specialties, which will be distributed on the Metro and Metrobus transportation systems. He said that he hopes the new gardening initiative will teach students how to cultivate and prepare fruits and vegetables, which, along with the cooking classes and recipes, will give them a basis for healthier diets.

In an interview with El Universal, Mexico City's Education Secretary, Mara Robles Villaseņor, said that the program will also include encouraging junk-food vendors who operate outside the schools to sell healthier alternatives by offering them free recipes for healthier snacks.

The root of the program is education, she said, so that children understand the health consequences of eating junk food and start making healthier choices. She conceded that "we all like candy, sweet rolls and potato chips, but we should eat them as a treat, in moderation, and not as a normal thing."

Source: El Universal