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Bill Clinton visits health, science programs in St. Louis

Bill Clinton visits health, science programs in St. Louis


Students at Gateway Elementary in north St. Louis had a visitor Wednesday during their morning meditation. After the children practiced their breathing and self control during an assembly in the school gym, former President Bill Clinton said it was one of the healthiest schools he had ever seen.

Clinton stopped by three health and science programs in St. Louis that are connected to the Clinton Foundation. Gateway Elementary is part of the foundation’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which has a goal of preventing childhood obesity and type II diabetes.

Schoolchildren grow kale, cabbage and other produce in their outdoor garden. They eat fresh fruit and vegetables at breakfast and lunch. At fitness stations, they roll dice to get assigned different exercises and repetitions.

Healthy diet and exercise habits “make (students) feel empowered and less likely to act on frustrations,” Clinton told reporters at the event.

“What this school is doing for these kids will benefit this area 20 years from now,” he said. “They will be healthy, they will be good, they will have a full life.”

After the school visit, Clinton toured a mobile grocery store in a converted city bus. The nonprofit MetroMarket, started in 2015 by area college students, has received awards from the Clinton Global Initiative and the Missouri Foundation for Health. The bus carries local produce and meats and travels around areas of north St. Louis city and county where grocery stores are lacking.

“He understands the importance of food access in St. Louis,” said Clare Higgins, development manager for Urban Harvest farms, one of the market’s partners.

The bus was parked at Good Life Growing, an urban farm in north St. Louis. Clinton met with a crowd at the farm who stood in a chilly drizzle to shake his hand, take photos and offer hugs.

“I’m very grateful that he came out because we need a little bit of positivity in the whole district,” said Dwinderlin Evans, 4th Ward Democratic committeewoman.

Clinton also visited Girls Inc. in north St. Louis County, where the Clinton Foundation supports the Eureka! Program to offer science and technology education to girls in low-income areas. Support from the foundation can include grants, training or programming for health projects, but representatives did not provide details on which type of support the programs received.

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