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Monday, January 25, 2010

Michelle Obama leads the fight against childhood obesity

While her husband is in trying battles at home and abroad heading into his first State of the Union address, Michelle Obama is tackling a difficult task as well.

The First Lady is leading a huge initiative aimed at curbing one of America's most disturbing trends -- and one that DC SCORES fights through our physically active curriculum.

Childhood obesity.

Last Thursday, Obama gave a rousing speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, telling them she plans on unveiling a major initiative in mid-February to combat a trend that has left one in three children in this country either overweight (with a body-mass index in the 85-95th percentile) or obese (95th percentile and up).

Obama isn't wasting her time. She's getting involved in an issue that needs to be seriously addressed throughout our country, in which one-third of children today will eventually suffer from diabetes. A recent study even found, according to the Washington Post article Obama was quoted in, that obesity "could be an even greater threat to the nation's health than smoking."

Obama's plan is simple and smart: "It will combine the resources of the federal government with the local efforts of mayors, the knowledge gathered by foundations and the tireless foot soldiers from nonprofit organizations." It will involve feeding children healthier food at schools, and mayors of towns and cities instituting simple programs aimed at keeping children active and aware of healthy lifestyles.

She cited a few examples, such as the mayor of Minneapolis bringing farmers' markets to underserved neighborhoods. That would be a great idea in the District, where as a previous blog post pointed out, there are too few healthy eating options in poorer areas.

At DC SCORES, we continue to promote healthy living and exercise through our daily programming. Not much is better for a child than spending an hour a day outside playing as well as learning about what's good to eat.

But it certainly helps when a person of Mrs. Obama's stature puts herself at the forefront of the battle against childhood obesity. It definitely won't hurt, and I'm sure it will inspire people nationwide. 

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