Michelle Obama Hosts Summit on Childhood Obesity

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First Lady Michelle Obama has been trying her best to raise awareness on childhood obesity for some months and this past Friday she held a summit at the White House to embark upon the weighty issue of childhood obesity. The task force will be preparing a report that will “serve as a very important road map, with goals, benchmarks and measurable outcomes.” Obama said.

With one in three children falling into the overweight/obese category, this issue is approaching crisis mode. To stem the tide, and hopefully improve the health of our nation’s youth, the legislature, with the support of the White House, has been implementing programs, instituted the task force, and stumping for an improvement in our food delivery system overall and in our schools.

The summit participants were asked to come up with three to five recommendations for the task force to consider taking to the president. Healthier foods in corporate cafeterias and linking public transportation to grocery store access were among the early suggestions.

The audience seemed to appreciate a California doctor's call for a drive to integrate short bursts of physical activity into the regular workplace and school routine. "We have great meetings with lots of healthy refreshments now, compared to 20 years ago when we would only have unhealthy refreshments, or 30 years ago when people would have been smoking in this room," said Dr. Toni Yancey of University of California Los Angeles.

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"Now we need to not coop people up for hours on end without physical activity," Yancey continued as laughter erupted from colleagues in the windowless auditorium.

The United States spends $150 billion a year to treat obesity-related conditions. The costs are projected to almost double over the next decade and will account for a fifth of overall healthcare spending, White House budget director Peter Orszag said.

Mrs. Obama launched the “Let’s Move!” campaign with a goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation and the first lady said Friday’s session was the first of its kind at the White House.

“It’s one where we’re bringing together teachers and child advocates, doctors and nurses, business leaders, public servants, researchers and health experts to talk about one of the most serious and difficult problems facing our kids today, and that is the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country,” she said.

"This gathering has never happened before at the White House," Mrs. Obama told the audience. Noting the presence of "teachers and child advocates, doctors and nurses, business leaders, public servants, researchers and health experts," she said that "solving this problem is going to take every single one of us."

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