It is an ugly fact: Nearly a third of our children are overweight or obese. That’s one out of three kids on our elementary school playgrounds, in our middle school hallways, in our high school classrooms. And Michelle Obama is taking aim.
Today, the “mom-in-chief,” as she calls herself, is launching “Let’s Move,” a program she hopes will help eradicate childhood obesity in a generation.
"It's an ambitious goal, but we don't have time to wait," the first lady said in an interview with USA Today.”We’ve got to stop citing statistics and wringing our hands and feeling guilty, and get going on this issue."
Obama says she experienced the issue firsthand when her children’s pediatrician talked to her a couple of years ago about weight fluctuations he was seeing in her girls.
“I was shocked because my kids looked perfectly fine to me," Obama told the newspaper. "But I had a wake-up call." Like many parents, however, "I didn't know what to do."
Her message will focus on the basics: Parents should make sure their children eat more fruits and vegetables, cut out sugary soft drinks and junk food, limit television time and get more exercise in their daily lives. It’s not an easy prescription in today’s hectic, multitasking drive-through world, but it is vitally important.
"We've seen the surge in obesity in this country is nothing short of a public health crisis, and it's threatening our children, it's threatening our families, and more importantly it's threatening the future of this nation," she told an audience at a Virginia YMCA in January. "Higher rates of obesity are directly linked, as you've heard, to higher rates of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer and diabetes."
From ABC News:
“This morning President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum on childhood obesity to create the first-ever federal task force on childhood obesity, involving several federal agencies from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Health and Human Services, the first lady said.
“The task force will be charged with coming up with a "long-term action plan" after an extensive review of all federal nutrition programs.