First lady Michelle Obama calls obesity a growing epidemic and one of the greatest threats to America’s health and economy. She is launching a major initiative next month to combat the problem in childhood. Obama spoke at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“To put in place common-sense initiatives and solutions that empower families and communities to make healthy decisions for their kids,” Michelle Obama said.
The obesity initiative will involve the federal government working with local officials and leaders in the business and non-profit sectors. This will provide more nutritious food in schools. The new program will also allow more opportunities for kids to be physically active and give more communities access to affordable, healthier foods.
Obama has said she hopes one of her legacies will be her work in reducing childhood obesity. It is a goal she already has begun by planting the White House garden and joining in physical activities with children. The growing obesity statistics are something that never fails to take her breath away.
Government statistics show that about 32% of children and adolescents are obese or overweight. Almost 20% of children ages 6 to 11 and 18% of those ages 12 to 19 are obese. Such children are at a greater risk for weight-related health problems such as high cholesterol and diabetes, and they have an increased chance of becoming obese adults.
First Lady’s Influence On Weight Management Control
Michelle Obama understands the difficulties most parents face. “It wasn’t that long ago that I was juggling a full-time job with the round-the-clock role of being a mom,” she said. “And there were plenty of times when after a long day at work, when the fridge was empty and the kids were hungry, that I just ordered that pizza, because it was easier. Or we went to the drive-through for burgers, because it was cheap and quick. And I wasn’t always aware of how all the calories and fat in some of the processed foods I was buying were adding up.”
The first lady acknowledged that most families are also tight on money and time. Part of the problem is a lack of markets that sell fresh produce in their communities. In addition, schools have cut back physical-education and recreation programs.