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Michelle Obama's war on obesity

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WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama kicked off her "Let's Move" drive on Tuesday, an agenda of nutrition and exercise programs designed to eliminate "the epidemic of childhood obesity" in a generation.

"This isn't like a disease where we're still waiting for the cure to be discovered," Mrs. Obama said. "We know the cure for this. This isn't like putting a man on the moon or inventing the Internet. It doesn't take some stroke of genius of feat of technology. We have everything we need right now to help our kids lead healthy lives."


Mrs. Obama made her remarks at a White House event launching the first public policy initiative she is leading, one with roots in her wildly popular White House kitchen garden planted last year.

Tuesday was the culmination of an orchestrated roll out of her campaign, which included a media blitz by the first lady and cabinet members. The first lady had been working with Obama administration officials, mayors, food makers, food vendor groups, medical associations and non-profit groups in order to come up with a package of White House proposals.

Congress this year is supposed to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, and Mrs. Obama is asking that school lunches and breakfasts get more funding so students can be served more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

She has enlisted professional athletes to run sports clinics across the nation and is using her considerable bully pulpit to get food makers and vendors to voluntarily either make their food healthier or at least label it better so people can make informed choices.

In essence, as Mrs. Obama said, the key to reducing childhood obesity is to eat better and exercise more; how to do that has vexed officials and medical professionals for years.

On Tuesday morning, Mrs. Obama, flanked by four cabinet members attended an Oval Office ceremony with President Obama where he signed a memo creating an interagency task force on childhood obesity with orders to come up with a plan in 90 days.

Mrs. Obama is looking to eliminate junk food in schools and "food deserts" in urban areas where parents cannot get access to fresh produce and non-junk foods. Mrs. Obama is asking Congress for more money to bring grocery stores and farmers markets to underserved areas.

No food purist--Mrs. Obama enjoys her burgers and fries, she said she is not looking for "having government tell people what to do. Instead, I'm looking at what we all can do."

23 Comments

Fantastic. I'm so happy that she has the concern, courage, and intelligence to bring this issue to our attention I appreciate the fact that this is partnership with many agencies and organizations.

Americans cannot afford low calorie vitamin packed fruits and vegetables because of federal law. Michelle is wasting her time. She should lobby congress to change the federal agriculture program that prevents local grain farmers from selling fruits and vegetables on the side. Instead of wholesome local produce we must purchase expensive foods from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and California.

I am an olympic/world class athlete and I think what the 1st lady is doing is awsome. I would love to help with the fight the epidemic of childhood obesity. That is something special to my heart. I currently is working with childern concerning this problem and I want to know how can I become more involved in the first lady movement.

hey


I think what Mrs. Obama is doing is a great thing. I would love to help in any way I can. I wanted to create a program in my Community to help child and families have healthy lives. It’s hard to do that due to lack of funding and space. However that is one of goal I am working on. If there is anything I can do please let me know.

Thanks
Jeanette Nazaire

MY DEAR MRS. OBAMA, I VOL. AT THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS AND FOR THIRTY YEARS I'VE OPENED AND OWN THIRTY HEALTH CLUBS. ONE THING I HAVE LEARNED, IS IN ORDER FOR ANY CHANGE TO BE MADE, REALISTIC GOALS MUST BE ESTABLISHED. JUST SAYING IT DOESN'T WORK. A PLAN AND A MENTAL PICTURE OF RESULTS WILL. BESIDES DIET AND EXERCISE,ONE MUST BELIEVE THEY CAN DO IT. THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS, TRYING TO IT, WANTING TO DO IT AND BUT NO ONE SHOWED THEM HOW!I CAN HELP YOU WRITE A SIMPLE PLAN, THAT WILL START THE BALL MOVING. A LITTLE BETTER TODAY THAN I WAS YESTERDAY.BEN

As you stated in your article,"We have everything we need right now to help our kids lead healthy lives."

It can't only be about food and diet...it needs to be fun and rewarding, as well.

Do something in waist deep water where, in the event of an emergency,you can rest on your knees with head above water...or, you can simply stand up.

Check out nevertouchbottom.com where one can learn about a fun and productive physical fitness activity that is low cost, challenging and rewarding.

Thank you.

I would like to add what Michelle Obama mentioned above. It's also very important on portion sizes, mixing of proteins and drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Of course with eating fruits, veggies and healthy proteins.

I run a charity that cares for 1,200 AIDS orphans in Africa. What a fat-uous comment on this society that our first lady considers children's obesity the biggest problem to address in a world where millions of children live with malnutrition and starvation every day.

This is a wonderful idea and I would love to participate in any way I can. I was an athlete from the age of 7 (gymnast) and still competing in dance until I was 31. If you start being active young, I truly believe it will stick with you for life as long as you have support and guidence. Please let me know what kinds of programs need help here in Los Angeles.
Thanks,
Darla

Fixing problems that are pandemic in your immediate environment is leadership. The spin offs of having healthier, more conscience children in 1st world countries invariably means better empathy and therfore support of children in 3rd world countries. The relationship that people have with food imapcts how they deal with other areas of their lives. Eating healthier fights consumerism, which in turn leads to discussions aboput what to do with the excess. Profound initiative on so many levels.

This is Mrs. Obama's way to help her husband give the unions what they want...take over of the school cafeteria workers for the SEIU.

Step One: Get the public behind the program

Step Two: Government mandates on how this will be implemented in the schools.

Step Three: Have SEIU organize the workers so they can do "their jobs" in providing good food for the students of the U.S.

Step Four: The Federal Govt is in charge of another huge portion of the economy and the labor union, specifically SEIU, is benefiting from more American tax dollars.

why do they eat with oprah?

I remember going to PE class in elementary school. We were involved with the Presidents' physical fitness program and we were motivated to try hard and get presidential recogniion for passing the fitness challenges. I have worked with children and adults, many with disibilities that might overwhelm so many healthy individuals. I have raised two son's, one who passed away 10 years ago because of complications from a staph infection. Both of my son's were born with strikes against them. One had a stroke in utero, the other was born with an extremely serious heart condition. both sons were encouraged by their families and the school system to participate in special olympics. My husband and I volunteered and were motivated by these wonderful atheletes. Let's all remember that our bodies must be fed and used to their maximum potential. there is no excuse for obesity except for a lack of love for our own bodies and spirits. Our children need guidance, and sometimes a loving push. Sometimes that push has to come from those outside of the home, a friend, a teacher, or perhaps a celebrity. Michele O'bama is an inspiration. Keep up the sprit of love for our wonderful children.

I applaud our first lady getting involved in our children's welfare. I believe it is a continuation of Mrs. Clinton's adage "That it take's a village to raise a child."

I have been teaching for 19 years. In my 19 years I have learned a few things that might be contributing to children being overweight.

Elementary children have to go to school earlier than ever before. Resulting in it being dark when elementary school children go to school. It is unsafe for them to walk or ride a bike. Causing them to lose out on exercise round trip.Granted we are saving money by using the same school buses to transport elementary, middle and high school students but I am afraid it is at the expense of our youngest. I also know of students missing the bus and then not even coming to school.

I also see students now that are deprived of sleep. They do not go to bed early enough henceforth when they get up at 6 a.m. they are tired. The saying sometimes is they don't wake up until Tuesday or Wednesday. Also daylight savings time cause's even more issues.

If there is challenging weather they do not have outdoor recess. In the south 40 degree's is challenging weather. Also children are punished if they did not do their work or homework then recess is the first thing to be taken away. I do know some children that do not like to go out so they have figured out how to work the system. They intentionally do not do their work so they can stay in. They are also already overweight. There are also teacher's that say I have so much to teach, I can't allow time for recess, henceforth the students not get to go out.

As for children eating unhealthy foods, we have teacher's that say "oh you brought chips you, can't eat them". So then we have a child sitting there hungry. Children are skipping breakfast, as they do not have time to eat. If they come in late, to bad you go hungry, even if they are on free or reduced meals. They then overeat at lunch or their dinner time at home.

We are not helping our students keep their weight down by the changes we have made. I am glad that someone such as Mrs. Obama or Mrs. Clinton will use their voice to shed light on these unhealthy changes.

You want to eliminate childhood obesity?? Throw out those video games, X-boxes and wii's, and have your kids go out and ride bikes with their friends like I did when I was a kid.

HYDROPONIC farming of vegetables is the way to go. There is a pond or two in every county of this country.

This will promote new employment growth, supplies good health food, decreases childhood obesity and can keep disabled unemployed people something to do and keep away from drugs.

New industrial materials will be needed and growth of this industry will result in more jobs.

The government / Michelle Obama can do a lot in this direction. Can use Warren Buffet's investments safely with definite results.

I am willing to do my share in this regard.
I have taught "TAR WAR" programs and kept kids away from smoking.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN CHIDHOOD OBESITY.
I WOULD LIKE IT TO BECOME A PART OF A CHILD'S YEARLY CHECKUP FOR THE CHOLESTORAL LEVELS TO BE TAKEN.THAT WAY THE PARENT IS AWARE IF THEY NEED TO MAKE DIET ADJUSTMENTS THAT MAY REFLECT UPON THE FUTURE HEALTH OF THE CHILD.

To whom it may concern,


Hello and good day! My daughter has a great desire to participate in a health camp by the name of Wellsprings. Since infancy she has always been considered over average in the area of weight. I’ve seen it take a toll on her self-esteem the last couple of years. She will not wear a swimming suit without a shirt, and she struggles to suck in her stomach most of the day in attempts to make her self appear more slim, this tactic only making her look very uncomfortable in her own skin. Last year she was very sad that I was not able to afford to send her to this camp. I am a single mother attending college in an attempt to make more money to provide for my two girls ages 9 and 11. This year I plan to do some outreach in prayer that a blessing will present allowing her to attend this camp so she can learn to eat healthier and take better care of herself in the area of weight.
Media commends its success around the world including CNN, Dateline- NBC, and People have publicized this camp. Anything you could offer in terms of support would be greatly appreciated.
To get started on the application process a deposit of $750 is required. Hopefully our insurance will be able to cover $1500 otherwise I plan to save up enough to cover that amount. That leaves $4240 unaccounted for.
More information on this camp and its achievements is available by visiting: www.wellspringflorida.com/ .
We sincerely thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

I agree childhood obesity is a growing problem.I work at a low income elementary school during lunch hour.I see what our children are being served.Hotdogs ,hamburgers,frenchfries,pizza and greasy cheese sticks! yum!There choice drink is chocolate milk or 1% milk.Out of an estimated 300 children only 5 choose 1% milk!Wheres the water?Salads are offered a few times a week,but are usually covered in cheese and chopped lunchmeat!The point im tring to make is lets start at the school age level.Many parents are ignorent to what they should feed there children including myself. I feed my children what i was feed ,what is affordable.I have a family of 7 ,my food budget is 10.00 for dinner.We need to use our own fresh vegetables.STOP importing!I afraid to even buy certain vegetables.The obisity in my opinion is also due to the lack of phisical education offered in schools.The local news reported that there cutting school sports !My 9 year old has p.e 2 times a week.My 12 and15 yr. old 2or3 times a week.My 16 & 18yr.old only needs a year and a half to graduate!wow!!!In talking it over with others of my low income status, we have all had the same line of thinking...in my zipcode alone there are 100 registerd sex offenders!Our streets are unsafe!My children are closely watched!I afraid to let them ride there bikes or even stay with friends!There aloud 1 hr. of video games and a half hr. of moniterd computer time!We take walks and visit the park /weather permitting.Its sad i have to choose saftey over our childrens health!

Michelle is doing the right thing, it's easier to live a healthier life if you start young and revising cafeteria foods and bringing fresh produce closer/cheaper to families is key.

We provide meals for school children of all ages.
We are extremely conscious of this issue. We create healthy low fat menus.
We would like to do more.
Is there an organization we can join to further this issue.
Anil

Dear Ms Obama,

Let's face it, it is cheaper to take the kids to McDonalds' than to cook a meal. The price of food has risen far quicker than our wages. We can't afford fresh leafy vegetables. We are lucky to be able to afford beans, rice and lard.
If you want to help, stop allowing states to sell chips, pop and candy for food stamps. It is allowed because the stores will not tax these items that are paid for by food stamps. Move the fast food joints out of low income neighborhoods.
Parents can't allow their children outside to play in a lot of places because of the risk of violence,
Revamp school lunch programs so THEY are not feeding our kids cold greasy foods like chicken nuggets and tons of carbohydrates. Stop allowing fast food joints from selling their garbage in our schools.
This should not be as complex as people make it out to be. Affordable food for all and education!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 10, 2010 2:41 PM.

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