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Michelle Obama Taking On Childhood Obesity Crisis

Michelle Obama Taking On Childhood Obesity Crisis

“Medical experts have warned that our children are on track to be less healthy than we are.” – First Lady Michelle Obama

We should be ashamed of that fact.

Michelle Obama is leading the charge against childhood obesity. We’ve already seen her tending the White House vegetable garden and encouraging children to participate in the growing process. Now she’s taking that enthusiasm to a whole new level, with a national campaign.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 12.4 percent of 2-5 year olds are obese; for 6-11 year-olds it’s 17.0 percent; and for the 12-19 year-old crowd, it’s 17.6 percent.

Health risks as a result of obesity include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and sleep apnea. Obesity in childhood often leads to obesity in adulthood.

Fortunately, little changes in diet make a big difference. Like providing children with fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products; getting back to normal portions; and limiting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks that are high in calories and empty carbohydrates and low in nutritional value.

Then there’s the matter of exercise. Cutting down on the number of hours spent on sedentary activities and encouraging outdoor play, even for brief periods, contribute toward a healthier lifestyle.

A good diet and exercise will not eradicate every health problem, but it will cut down tremendously on preventable illness. For people who have other medical conditions, a healthy diet can help maintain strength and avoid additional problems.

Speaking of her own circumstances before moving into the White House, Mrs. Obama said:

“Barack and I were like any working couple. I was a working mom with a husband that was busy, so many times I was the one balancing that load and wrestling with many of those challenges. And there were plenty of times, I tell you, that you’d come home tired, you don’t want to hear the kids fuss, and popping something in the microwave or picking up a burger was just heaven. It was a Godsend.

But we were fortunate enough to have a pediatrician, as I’ve mentioned, that kind of waved the red flag for me, as a mother, and basically cautioned me that I had to take a look at my own children’s BMI. Now, we went to our pediatrician all the time. I thought my kids were perfect — they are and always will be — but he warned that he was concerned that something was getting off balance.”

Often, it is most difficult to acknowledge the problems that reside in our own homes. The First Lady challenges us to notice the changes in our own children and to take positive steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Parents are the first and most important line of defense.

Schools also have a role to play, by offering more nutritious meals, providing nutritional information to children as part of the curriculum, and ensuring exercise through recess and physical education.

“And of course parents are ready and willing. We all want to make the best choices for our children. We just need to know how. And if we continue to do that, if we work with our physicians, if we work with our Surgeon General, if we’ve got the government, the federal government, working together, businesses ready to make the sacrifices, then we can tackle this problem. And we can do something really important for our kids. We can hand them the future that we know they’re going to need to be successful.”

You can read the full text of the First Lady’s remarks on childhood obesity HERE.

Related Reading on Care2:

Chemicals in Plastics Linked to Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity and Parental Responsibility

Is the USDA Trying to Kill Our Kids?

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Photo: USARMY

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4:21AM PST on Feb 25, 2010

Of course the young have obesity problems; they are taken everywhere by car, do not walk or cycle to school, eat junk food, play with computers instead of outdoor games (organised and disorganised!). Parents are afraid to say "No", to discipline their children, to insist upon a healthy life-style. Parents lack responsibility, moral courage. They ruin their offspring. They, and the youngsters, are the victims of so much hogwash published over the last fifty years by self-styled "experts".

7:02AM PST on Feb 12, 2010

we've got to look after ourselves aint we,sososo uncomfortable

5:02PM PST on Feb 10, 2010

Well first lady shouldn't say that. Some people can't resist obesity. She has to deal with it.

3:43AM PST on Feb 10, 2010

Sadly, it is an up-hill battle to wean children off addictive junk-food. The best hope is not to introduce this junk to children in the first place. One can only hope that all the pregnant mums, out there, will look to Michelle Obama as a role model. Ignorance is no longer an excuse; the right information has gone global.

10:01PM PST on Feb 8, 2010

I feel that healthy lifestyle is a personal choice! Sure, what Michelle is doing is very admirable! However if one wants to make changes in their lives then it is as simple as not having unhealthy stuff in your home. Don't buy it, then you can't have it and you will eat what is available. I used to have a very bad habit of drinking sodas & junk food. Now they are not in the house because I do not purchase them, sure sometimes I will crave them but it usually goes away almost as quick as I craved it. And because it is not in the house, the temptation fades away & I will have a fruit instead! And for children, parents are usually the ones making the food choices that they buy & that comes into the home, therefore parents step up & give your child a
healthy choice & keep unhealthy one out of reach.

2:11PM PST on Feb 8, 2010

It really is a crisis and it is so sad.

3:23PM PST on Feb 7, 2010

good one!

12:44PM PST on Feb 7, 2010

I'm so glad Michelle Obama is doing this. Our children are suffering and will just get more and more unhealthy as they get older. We need to face up to our responsibility in all this and get back to natural food and the correct balance in things.

12:41PM PST on Feb 7, 2010

Thanks!

10:37AM PST on Feb 7, 2010

This is a very important issue, glad it´s being adressed.

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