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Monday, March 4, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama Fights High Childhood Obesity Rates in African American Communities

Michelle Obama Fights Childhood Obesity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese; among adults, obesity is the No. 2 cause of preventable death in the U.S. Children are also at risk. Childhood obesity has increased over 300 percent over the past 30 years. One in three children in America are overweight. Among African-American and Hispanic communities, nearly 40% of the children are overweight.

This is a serious problem because, like adults, children are also susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and even cancer later if they do not change their eating habits. Much of this can be attributed to changes in family lifestyle over the years. There are more dual-income families with both parents working, less time for healthy, home-cooked meals, more snacking, less exercise--thanks to computers, video games and television.

The quality of food is another problem. Compared to 1970, the average American now eats fifteen more pounds of sugar a year. More sugar, 31 percent more calories, 56 percent more fat-laden foods all do their share to contribute to obesity. What can be done to protect children from suffering serious health problems later that are caused by obesity?

Michelle Obama recently initiated a national school program called Let's Move! The program's initiative includes:
  • Nutrition education for parents
  • Healthy food in schools
  • Access to healthy food for everyone
  • Increase exercise and physical activity for children
Many schools have already taken the initiative to make healthy changes to school meals. By completing five initiatives that are designed to get more children and their parents eating healthy and exercising more, communities can become certified as Let's Move! communities. The program involves local officials, schoold, health care professionals, organizations and corporations all working together to tackle the problem of childhood obesity and ensure that America's children have a healthier and happier future.

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