First lady Michelle Obama is exercising her power to change America’s alarming obesity figures. The preventable disease causes diabetes in one in three American children, and ranks among the most common dis-qualifiers for military service. With national health and safety on the line, Michelle Obama is throwing her weight behind her landmark Let’s Move initiative, and is propelling our country towards a healthier future.
Michelle Obama is making history … with the ambition to end American obesity in a generation. After announcing this goal last February, the first lady launched Let’s Move!, which addresses obesity and exercise at each step, from production to perception to participation in healthy eating. With PSAs on major media networks and new recommendations for customer-friendly, front-of-package labeling of nutrition facts, the initiative is raising awareness; to increase adoption of healthy habits, the initiative is working with schools to provide healthy meals for more than 42 million American students.
The Obama administration also partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to revamp the traditional food pyramid; the nutritional guide now includes six food groups, not four, and has moved away from early structure based primarily on caloric intake, which is only a portion of healthy dietary practices. The new food pyramid is praised as more healthy and relevant, and has gained implementation in schools and by nutritionists across the country.
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What’s next for the first lady?
Michelle Obama’s plan will increase access to healthy food this year, particularly in what the campaign refers to as “food deserts,” primarily located in severely underprivileged, undernourished communities. The Obama Administration partnered with Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services to invest $400 million each year, starting 2011, to help increase the number of grocery stores in underserved areas, with the aim of eliminating food deserts within seven years.
In her own words …
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” the first lady said in a White House 2010 press release.
A little-known fact …
The health care costs of obesity-related diseases are $147 billion annually.
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