First lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday launched a campaign to fight childhood obesity, a cause that is becoming her top policy priority.
Her campaign is part of a government effort to reframe the debate about the nation's expanding waistlines. Top health officials, including Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, say they want to shift the conversation away from achieving a particular weight or dress size and instead emphasize the benefits of good nutrition and physical activity, Wall Street Journal reports.
According to Food Product Design, c hildhood obesity or excess weight threatens the healthy future of one-third of American children. Americans spend $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions, and that number is growing.
Obesity rates tripled in the past 30 years, a trend that means, for the first time in our history, American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents.
President Obama also signed a presidential memorandum to create the Task Force on Childhood Obesity (Task Force) to develop an interagency action plan to solve the problem of obesity among our nation's children within a generation.
Michelle Obama will lead a national public awareness effort to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity. She will encourage involvement by public, nonprofit and private sectors, as well as parents and youth, to help support and amplify the work of the federal government in improving the health of children.
According to USA Today in an interview with Mimi Hall and Nancy Hellmich, Mrs. Obama said, "one in three kids in our nation today are (overweight or) obese, and that figure increases for African-American and Hispanic children."
She also added, "we've got to stop citing statistics and wringing our hands and feeling guilty, and get going on this issue."