The Movement to End Childhood Obesity in America’s Children
Last week First Lady Michelle Obama came to Atlanta to celebrate the first anniversary of Let’s Move!. Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of childhood obesity in a generation so that children will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. My husband Terreon and I took my sister and our seven nieces and nephews to the event held at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta.
Childhood obesity has become a major issue in America and in countries throughout the world. Over the past three decades childhood obesity rates in America have tripled! Today, almost one in every three children in America is overweight or obese. According to the Center for Disease Control, the prevalence of obesity among children ages 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%. Additionally, this epidemic disproportionately affects African American and Latino children. The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that African American and Mexican American adolescents ages 12-19 were more likely to be overweight, at 21% and 23% respectively, than non-Hispanic White adolescents (14%). In children 6-11 years old, 22% of Mexican American children were overweight, whereas 20% of African American children and 14% of non-Hispanic White children were overweight. African Americans and Latinos must address the issue of obesity in our communities, especially among our children. Childhood obesity is a major issue because obesity leads to other major health concerns later in life including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses. According to the Get America Fit Foundation, obesity is the #2 cause of preventable death in the United States.
As a health advocate and avid exerciser, I understand the importance of maintaining good health. I came to this conclusion after reading the following quote my freshman year of college, “Health is something that most people do not appreciate until it is gone.” Throughout my life this statement has motivated me to work consistently to maintain good health. It is gratifying to know that Mrs. Obama has raised awareness about health among children. To my delight my nieces and nephews, ranging in age from 3 to 17 years, paid attention and learned from Mrs. Obama. In fact, when I saw my 3-year-old nephew the following day, he told me, “Mrs. Obama said we need to eat more vegetables.” I was so proud!
Mrs. Obama has raised awareness about childhood obesity and has called for children, parents, schools, elected officials, chefs and community leaders to become involved in the movement to develop healthier children. Whether it is planning healthier snacks, supporting a community garden, building a community playground or working with schools to develop healthier meals, everyone can contribute. Through Let’s Move! communities across the country have developed creative programs to improve the health of children. Above all, the best way to develop healthy children is to encourage them to eat nutritious foods and stay active. For more information about Let’s Move! and how you can become involved in the movement to end childhood obesity, visit www.letsmove.gov.
Comment by Charles
Charles March 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm
Palin’s Attack Obama Obesity Initiatives Shows How Reckless She Is.
It’s clear that we can’t go 24 hours without Sarah Palin saying something so stupid that it defies logic, but leave it to the Kim Kardashian of Politics to find something wrong with First Lady Michelle Obama’s effort to curb obesity among America’s kids.
In a radio interview Wednesday with conservative talker Laura Ingraham, Palin takes dead aim at the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative, which is all about getting our children active, involved in exercise and healthy eating.
In the Wacky World of Wasilla’s finest, Palin tries to cast the effort to fight obesity as part of Michelle Obama’s “different worldview.”
Here is a portion of the transcript from HuffingtonPost.com: “Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I’m going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.”
Hmmm. “Let’s Move” is Obama’s “kick”? Maybe someone should kick Sarah Palin so she can understand how devastating obesity is to the future of the United States.
According to the First Lady’s Let’s Move website:
– Obesity rates among children have tripled in the last three decades, and one in three children are obese;
– One-third of all children born after 2000 will suffer from diabetes;
– Our children are less active today than any other time in American history, spending 7.5 hours a day watching TV, playing video games, or simply involved in efforts that don’t require movement;
– Obesity is contributing to the vast increase in hypertension among Americans.
Now, since Palin is always talking about our nation’s military and how we have to honor them and show them love and affection, what did a group of generals say a few months ago about obesity on America’s national defense?
In an study released in April by Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit group out of Washington, D.C. (missionreadiness.org), more than 150 retired generals and admirals concluded that 27 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are too fat to join the military.
The culprit? Junk food and too much fat in school lunches.
“Today, otherwise excellent recruiting prospects, some of them with generations of sterling military service in their family history, are being turned away because they are just too overweight. Our standards are high because we clearly cannot have people in our command who are not up to the job. Too many lives depend on it,” the study stated.
During his testimony before Congress, the former head of the California Army National Guard, Retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Monroe said that “80 percent of children who were overweight between the ages of 10 to 15 were obese by age 25.”
He and other military leaders want Congress to enact a massive child nutrition bill to remove all junk food and high-calorie beverages out of schools; improve nutrition standards in schools and upgrade school menus; and “help develop new school-based strategies, based on research, that help parents and children adopt healthier life-long eating and exercise habits.
Monroe testified: “In 1946, Congress passed the National School Lunch Act as a matter of national security. In the past retired admirals and generals have stood up to make it clear that America is only as healthy as our nation’s children. Childhood obesity is now undermining our national security, and we need to start turning it around today.”
So, Sarah Palin, are you going to also rip into this decorated American and say that he and 150 other military leaders are dead wrong?
I recently saw Michelle Obama in a primetime special on TV One Cable Network dedicated to her Let’s Move initiative, and it was startling to listen to her talk about the horrible statistics and the shape we’ll be in in the future, figuratively and literally.
“The crisis that we’re facing around childhood obesity hits everything,” Obama said. “It’s about education, what our kids are learning about nutrition in the schools, the quality of the food in the schools. It’s about our neighborhood development. How are neighborhoods designed? Are our kids – do they have access to safe places to play? Are we structuring communities in a way that facilitate healthy living? Are there accessible and affordable healthy foods in our communities? And it’s about economic opportunity as well because if folks can’t afford to put food on the table, then they’re eating what they can.
“So this is one of those issues that requires us to talk about a little bit of everything. And it makes us look at ourselves a little more closely and it makes us look at the broader society. So we’re beginning to understand this is a threat.”
This latest broadside by Palin shows how reckless and ridiculous she is. Libertarians and far right conservative Republicans are always talking about government intrusion into our lives, but when we look at clean water, our air quality, and food supply, thank God for governmental standards.
Don’t think for a second I’m not paying attention. I’ve increased my health awareness, am changing my diet and working out more to lose weight, and am pushing family members to do the same. That’s really the whole point of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move.”
Any Republican with common sense should see that Sarah Palin poses an immediate threat to the future of this country. She only proves that every time she opens her mouth.
Sarah, for the benefit of the nation, stick a fork in it.
Comment by RH
RH April 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm
Hi Charles, it is important that all of us become aware of the importance of taking care of our own health as well as the health of our children. It is a shame that some want to make Mrs. Michelle Obama’s efforts to improve the health of youth as negative. We all need to understand how health issues are now affecting an entire generation and that we must do all we can to improve this dire situation. Thank you for your comments and your commitment to living a healthy life.