Monday, February 15, 2010

Let's Move with the First Lady

  
     Michelle Obama worries about obesity too  - childhood obesity.  Even though she thought that she was doing all the right things, her pediatrician indicated that her daughter's BMIs were getting off course.  In the past 30 years, obesity rates have actually TRIPLED and now two thirds of American adults and a third of American children are overweight or obese.  Our country spends $150 billion every year treating obesity-related diseases, many of which can be prevented.  Sadly, it's even affecting the strength of our soldiers as military leaders indicate that obesity is one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.

     To address these issues early on, Michelle Obama recently launched her Let's Move campaign to combat childhood obesity.  It is a comprehensive approach to educating parents, caregivers, schools and children about the importance of eating healthy and will provide them with the tools they need and the nation's children's health foundations have come together and  formed The Partnership of a Healthier America.  Through the campaign, the hope is to do the following:

-  Provide information to the consumer to make educated choices with the help of the food and beverage industries.  Including Estimated Calorie Requirements for the whole family.   I am thrilled with this, since my own general practitioner could not tell me how many calories I am supposed to eat each day.

-  Investing $400 million a year to reduce "food deserts" where people don't have access to nutritious foods by providing grocery stores and help convenience stores to carry healthier options.

-  Provide monies to schools (requesting $10 billion over ten years starting in 2011)  through the Child Nutrition Act to improve the quality of school breakfast and lunches.

-  The American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organizations will educate doctors and nurses about Body Mass Index, BMI.  They will monitor it and provide counseling for families early on, even providing prescriptions to remedy weight gain.

-  The food pyramid will be revamped by the US Department of Agriculture and updated information and various tools will be available on MyPyramid.gov.

-  The USDA will create a Food Atlas, an interactive database that will provide information regarding healthy food environments-identifying 'food deserts', high incidence of diabetes and other conditions.

-  Let's Move toolkits will be available soon to parents to get them going.  They will be made available on the "Let's Move" website.

-  Increasing physical activity with the help of the President's Fitness Challenge, the U.S. Department of Education and clinics held by professional athletes.

Mrs. Obama believes that unlike diseases for which we are searching for a cure, we have the CURE for childhood obesity.  Every day I worry about my kids, what they are eating and how what I serve affects them.  This is true from my house to the White House.  The Let's Move campaign has some valuable resources and as I incorporate some of the ideas into our lives I hope to keep moving myself.  What are your thoughts on this campaign?

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