US Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman has announced the selection of schools participating in the US$6m Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Programme designed to provide free fruits and vegetables to school children throughout the day.

Out of 800 applications reviewed by USDA, 100 schools in Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Michigan and six schools in the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico were selected for the Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Programme. The funds available for the programme will be distributed based on the school's enrolment.

"Finding practical solutions to combat the epidemic of overweight and obesity among our children is part of the President's Healthier US Initiative," commented Veneman. "Improving the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet, coupled with physical activity are positive steps toward changing behaviours for a healthier lifestyle," she continued.