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News

Let's Move! Michelle Obama Launches Campaign Against Childhood Obesity

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As thousands of people flocked to Denny's for free, yet not ideally healthy, meals this morning, First Lady Michelle Obama launched LetsMove.gov, a campaign to change the way we raise our children.

"Childhood obesity or excess weight threatens the healthy future of one third of American children," the website states on the homepage. "We spend $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions, and that number is growing. Obesity rates tripled in the past 30 years, a trend that means, for the first time in our history, American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents."

It's a big campaign, but here are few highlights that caught our eye, via a White House press release:

  • Next Generation Food Pyramid: To help people make healthier food and physical activity choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will revamp the famous food pyramid. MyPyramid.gov is one of the most popular websites in the federal government, and a 2.0 version of the Web site will offer consumers a host of tools to help them put the Dietary Guidelines into practice.
  • Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act: The Administration is requesting an historic investment of an additional $10 billion over ten years starting in 2011 to improve the quality of the National School Lunch and Breakfast program, increase the number of kids participating, and ensure schools have the resources they need to make program changes, including training for school food service workers, upgraded kitchen equipment, and additional funding for meal reimbursements. With this investment, additional fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products will be served in our school cafeterias and an additional one million students will be served in the next five years.
  • Eliminate Food Deserts: As part of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget, the Administration announced the new Healthy Food Financing Initiative - a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services that will invest $400 million a year to help bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options. Through these initiatives and private sector engagement, the Administration will work to eliminate food deserts across the country within seven years.
  • Increase Farmers Markets: The President’s 2011 Budget proposes an additional $5 million investment in the Farmers Market Promotion Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture which provides grants to establish, and improve access to, farmers markets.

The latter two, especially, can be related to Los Angeles where many neighborhoods suffer from a lack of healthy food. Luckily, living in Southern California offers a year-round bounty of good fresh food and farmers markets, which are both close to Obama's heart.