Foundation Gives $20 Million to Fight Obesity in Arkansas Schools

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A New Jersey philanthropic foundation is giving an additional $20 million to a program designed to promote healthy eating and exercise in schools.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initially funded the Healthy Schools program last year with an additional $8 million grant and is making the additional funds available now to the program's sponsor, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The money is to be used to help schools in 17 states attack obesity in children.

The alliance is a partnership of the Clinton Foundation at Little Rock and the American Heart Association.  Former President Bill Clinton and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lead the group.

With the new funds, some 8,000 schools will be able to receive in-person support for their anti-obesity programs by 2010, according to the alliance.  Currently, the alliance's technical assistance is available to only 230 schools in the U.S.

The new grants will be available to schools in states with the highest obesity rates: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and West Virginia.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press contributed to this report.)