First Lady Michelle Obama spoke recently about her efforts to combat childhood obesity through a group called Let’s Move. Speaking before the Congressional Black Caucus, she said obesity is a national epidemic and is especially a problem in African American communities. During the speech she highlighted the importance of breastfeeding:
And because it’s important to prevent obesity early, we’re also working to promote breastfeeding, especially in the black community — (applause) — where 40 percent of our babies never get breast-fed at all, even in the first weeks of life, and we know that babies that are breast-fed are less likely to be obese as children.
From the Let’s Move website:
The Let’s Move! campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. Let’s Move! will combat the epidemic of childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that will engage every sector impacting the health of children and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.
Mrs. Obama began a national conversation about the health of America’s children when she broke ground on the White House Kitchen Garden with students from a local elementary school in Washington, DC. Through the garden, she began a discussion with kids about nutrition and the role food plays in living a healthy life. That discussion grew into the Let’s Move! campaign.
At the launch of the campaign, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the first ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity to conduct a review of every single program and policy relating to child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national action plan to maximize federal resources and set concrete benchmarks toward the First Lady’s national goal. The Task Force’s recommendation focus on the four pillars of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign:
- empowering parents and caregivers
- providing healthy food in schools
- improving access to healthy, affordable foods
- increasing physical activity.
This problem can’t be solved just by passing laws in Washington. It’s going to take all of us—governors, mayors, doctors, nurses, businesses, non-profits, educators, parents—to tackle the challenge once and for all, so Let’s Move to end the epidemic of childhood obesity together.