First Lady Campaigns Against Childhood Obesity

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First Lady Michelle Obama is pushing her first big policy initiative called "Let's Move" and is trying to get kids to eat healthy and end the childhood obesity epidemic in a generation.

"There you go, Mrs. Obama. Nice job," President Obama told his wife. "It's done, honey, thanks."

With the stroke of a pen, President Obama set his wife's work into motion.

Mrs. Obama, who now calls herself "Mom-in-Chief," took the first year in the White House to focus on her own family. Now, she's on a mission to help American families fight fat, making childhood obesity her key platform.

"We have everything we need right now to help our kids lead healthy lives, and rarely in history have we encountered a problem of such magnitude and consequence, that is so imminently solvable," Mrs. Obama said.

Experts say it's an "epidemic", and more than 30 percent of children and teens are obese or overweight.

"Type two diabetes used to just be found among adults, and a lot of the cardiovascular risk problems were just found among adults; now we have 10-year-olds who are having high cholesterol and are forming type two diabetes, so it's a tremendous concern," Georgetown University's Amanda Staiano said.

Key parts of Mrs. Obama's initiative include: healthier meals in schools, more physical activity, incentives for grocery stores to move into low income neighborhoods, and urging pediatricians to take children's body mass index during visits.

"Body mass index is a very delicate issue, and I think we've seen that with schools releasing weights and body mass index to students, so we need to make sure that we don't become obsessed with diet and with exercise, but that we find a healthy medium," Staiano said.

Mrs. Obama sowed seeds for the project last year, when she planted an organic vegetable garden at the White House and sponsored a healthy kids fair.

Her message is "she's been there."

"Going to fast food a little bit more than I'd like, ordering pizza, and I started to see the effects on my family, particularly my kids," Mrs. Obama said.

But even the First Lady admits that government can only do so much.

"There is no expert on the planet who says the government telling people, telling you what to do, does any good with this issue. This is going to require effort on everyone's part," Mrs. Obama said.

What it really comes down to is parents giving their kids healthier options.

*Originally published February 10, 2010.

 

 

 

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