News / USA

US First Lady Announces Fight Against Child Obesity

First lady Michelle Obama describes childhood obesity as "one of the most serious threats" to the future of America's children.

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U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has announced a nationwide initiative to fight childhood obesity, calling it "one of the most serious threats" to the future of America's children.

Mrs. Obama said the campaign, nicknamed "Let's Move," aims to solve the problem within one generation, so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.  She said officials are working with food companies and doctors to provide clearer food labels and other tools that parents need to make healthy choices for their children.

The plan also includes programs and legislation to put healthier food in schools, ensure better access to affordable healthy food in communities, and find new ways for children to be physically active.

Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama signed a memorandum to establish a government task force on childhood obesity.

The task force is made up of Cabinet members and other top officials.  Over 90 days, they will review policies on child nutrition and physical activity, and will devise a national plan of action.

President Obama said the project has "enormous promise" in improving children's health.  He praised the first lady for taking on what he called "one of the most urgent health issues" facing the United States.

The White House says nearly one-third of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese.  It says that rate has tripled in adolescents and more than doubled in younger children since 1980.

Mrs. Obama said the administration is proposing several major investments, including $10 billion over 10 years to fund legislation that sets nutrition standards for food in schools, and $400 million a year to bring grocery stores to under-served areas.  She also announced the creation of a new, independent foundation - the Partnership for a Healthier America - to coordinate and monitor progress across the government and private sectors.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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