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By Darlene Superville/The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama is highlighting Mississippi’s progress toward reducing childhood obesity.

At an appearance Wednesday to celebrate the third anniversary of her own effort against childhood obesity, the first lady said Mississippi is inspiring other states and communities across the country.

She is citing new research showing a more than 13 percent decline in obesity rates among Mississippi’s elementary school students between 2005 and 2011.

Mississippi has been known for having the nation’s highest obesity rates.

Mrs. Obama also notes the changes put in place by Mississippi’s Legislature, its state Board of Education and individual school districts.

She says that other states, communities and school districts should follow Mississippi’s example.

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