Obama Wants to Solve Childhood Obesity Problem Within a Generation

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , February 9, 2010

President Obama rolled out his plan to combat childhood obesity as First Lady Michelle Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius looked on in an Oval Office ceremony, saying "this has enormous promise" to improve health of children. The administration hopes to "solve the problem" of obesity within a generation.

Obama signed a presidential memorandum that creates a 90-day plan that involves a task force to provide "optimal coordination" to "tackle one of the most urgent health issues that we face in this country and that is the increase of childhood obesity."

The White House released a memorandum that said the Obama Administration "is committed to redoubling our efforts to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation through a comprehensive approach that builds on effective strategies, engages families and communities, and mobilizes both public and private sector resources."

Nearly one-third of American children are overweight or obese—a rate that has tripled in adolescents and more than doubled in younger children since 1980, according to the White House.  One-third of people born in the year 2000 or later will eventually suffer from diabetes over the course of their lifetime, while many others face chronic-obesity-related health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

"We think that this has enormous promise in improving the health of our children, in giving support to parents to make the kinds of healthy choices that oftentimes are very difficult in this kind of environment. And so I just want to say how proud I am of the First Lady for her outstanding work," Obama said.

The coordinated effort involves private sector companies, nonprofits, and government agencies.

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.

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