WASHINGTON — Calling obesity an epidemic and one of the greatest threats to America's health and economy, first lady Michelle Obama said Wednesday that she would launch a major initiative next month to combat the problem in childhood.
Obama, speaking at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said the idea was simple: "To put in place common-sense initiatives and solutions that empower families and communities to make healthy decisions for their kids."
The initiative will involve the federal government working with local officials and leaders in the business and non-profit sectors, she said, to provide more nutritious food in schools, allow more opportunities for kidsto be physically active and give more communities access to affordable, healthful food.
Obama has said she hopes one of her legacies will be her work in reducing childhood obesity, an effort she already has begun by planting the White House garden and joining in physical activities with children.
She told the mayors that as much as she has read and talked about the problem, "the statistics never fail to take my breath away."
About 32% of children and adolescents are obese or overweight, government statistics show. Almost 20% of children ages 6 to 11 and 18% of those ages 12 to 19 are obese. Such children are at a greater risk for weight-related health problems such as high cholesterol and diabetes, and they have an increased chance of becoming obese adults.

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4 comments

Nita Harris | Credit Cards for Students said... @ October 07, 2010

Obesity in children today are so common because of, sadly, technology. More and more kids spend time in front of the TV/computer all day, as opposed to previous generations where being part of the "cool" kids meant being the one who runs the fastest, or being the best among peers for the outdoor games they play. Today, being "cool" means having a daily status update Facebook, having the most followers on Twitter, or having the best frag-death ration on .

Nita Harris said... @ October 08, 2010

Oops, LT and GT brackets automatically stripped out. The last sentence should read "having the best frag-death ratio on (insert popular first-person-shooting game here)".

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