First lady Michelle Obama revealed her plan to eliminate childhood obesity in a generation Tuesday.
Local sixth-grader,Tammy Nguyen,introduced Obama at the White House event after detailing her experience working in the White House Organic Food Project last year. Other Washington children stood on the stage.
Obama broke ground for the garden in March 2009 with the help of Tammy and 19 other Bancroft Elementary School fifth-graders. The project was part of an effort to educate the students about the importance of nutrition.
Now Obama is taking the health initiative to a national level with her campaign called “Let's Move.”
The campaign combines public- and private-sector resources to provide schools,families and communities with the tools to improve the health of the nation's children through healthy eating and physical activity.
“We're determined to finally take on one of the most serious threats to their future – and that's the epidemic of childhood obesity in America today,” Obama said.
One in three American children is overweight or obese,the first lady said,and the rate has tripled in the past three decades.
“For the first time in history,our health problems stem from abundance and excess,” said Dr. Judith Palfrey,president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Families are inundated with too much food,too many advertisements,too much driving around – quite simply,too much busy-ness.”
Among the campaign's goals are increasing parents' awareness,serving healthier food at schools and expanding and modernizing the President's Physical Fitness Challenge.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution here,” Obama said. “It's about families making manageable changes that fit with their schedules,their budgets,their needs,their tastes and their realities. There is so much more that we have to do.”
Initiatives to increase the availability of healthy food and eliminate food deserts for Americans will also create more jobs.
Food deserts are areas without supermarkets that leave 23.5 million Americans,including 6.5 million children,without access to fresh food and produce. Residents of these areas tend to consume too much fast food or frozen meals high in sodium and fat.
The government will invest $400 million a year in a healthy food financing initiative to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help convenience stores carry healthier options,simultaneously creating more jobs,Obama said.
Her goal is to eliminate food deserts in seven years.
President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum earlier in the day establishing the first Task Force on Childhood Obesity to aid the Let's Move campaign.
With the first lady and three cabinet secretaries standing behind him,the president praised the program.
“It's done,honey. Thanks,” he said after signing the memorandum.
The task force will take 90 days to review every program and policy regarding child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national plan to work toward the first lady's goal to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation.
“Rarely in the history of this country have we encountered a problem of such magnitude and consequence that is so eminently solvable,” she said. “I don't want our kids to live diminished lives because we failed to step up today.”