Good news! Michelle Obama is banging it out of the park. And that’s not (just) a reference to her new hair. The First Lady’s campaign to get kids healthier is producing results: according to a new press release, “the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off, and even declined in some cities and states.”
Granted, this declaration is coming from the White House itself, but the numbers appear consistent with other reports. USA Today notes that in Mississippi, a state where Ms. Obama has focused some of her efforts, has seen its childhood obesity rate drop 6 percent in as many years. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which studies topics of kids’ health similarly reports that the obesity rate has finally stopped growing, noting significant declines in California, Philadelphia and New York City.
While it is practically tradition for First Ladies to advocate for non-controversial causes during their time in the White House, not all of them can boast a success rate. This month marks the three-year anniversary of her Let’s Move! campaign. In addition to a steadying youth obesity rate, the White House also credits Let’s Move! with helping to promote physical activity, making healthy food more affordable and accessible, and improving the healthiness of school lunches.
Without questioning the data itself, some critics are skeptical of how much influence Obama has actually had toward any improvement in national adolescent health. The Daily Caller cites scientists in a New York Times article who “doubt that anti-obesity programs actually work.” They also link to a USDA study that states that nearly half of all of the nation’s most impoverished people claim to have lost weight because they were unable to afford food.
Either way, there’s no denying that Obama has stayed committed to keeping the conversation on combatting childhood obesity alive. In the upcoming weeks, Obama has scheduled several media appearances in order to bring attention to the initiative, as well as meetings with various community leaders to make them allies in the cause.
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