From Our 2010 Archives
Michelle Obama's Plan to End Childhood Obesity Epidemic
Latest Healthy Kids News
Goal: Cut Child Obesity From 20% to 5% by 2030
Daniel J. DeNoon
Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD
May 11, 2010 -- Spearheaded by Michelle Obama, a new presidential initiative would reverse the child obesity epidemic.
The goal, as set out in a report from the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, is to reduce childhood obesity from 20% to 5% by 2030.
To accomplish this, the plan makes 70 recommendations for early childhood, for parents and caregivers, for school meals and nutrition education, for access to healthy food, and for increasing physical activity.
"For the first time, the nation will have goals, benchmarks, and measurable outcomes that will help us tackle the childhood obesity epidemic one child, one family, and one community at a time," Obama says in a news release.
U.S. kids haven't always been obese. Only one in 20 children ages 2 to 19 was obese in the 1970s. But around 1980 child obesity began to rocket to today's stratospheric level: Nearly one in three kids is overweight or obese, and nearly one in five is frankly obese.
Everyone knows obese kids face worse health than their normal-weight peers. What this means is that higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and lung disease may lower children's life expectancy below that of their parents.
Other effects are becoming apparent. The U.S. armed forces now warn that one in four Americans aged 17 to 24 is too heavy for military service.
To reverse these trends, the White House plan seeks to cut child obesity and overweight rates by 2.5% by 2015 and by 5% by 2020. It's not a vague goal. Scorekeeping will be up to the CDC, which reports child obesity rates every two years.
Fighting Obesity in Early Childhood
The White House plan makes 12 recommendations for early childhood. Key elements of these recommendations are:
Fighting Childhood Obesity by Empowering Parents and Caregivers
The White House plan makes 13 recommendations for empowering parents and caregivers. Key elements of these recommendations are:
Fighting Childhood Obesity by Improving School Foods
The White House plan makes 17 recommendations for healthier food in schools. Key elements of these recommendations are:
Fighting Childhood Obesity by Improving Access to Healthy Food
The White House plan makes 11 recommendations for improving access to healthy foods. Key elements of these recommendations are:
Fighting Childhood Obesity by Increasing Physical Activity
The White House plan makes 17 recommendations for increasing kids' physical activity. Key elements of these recommendations are:
SOURCES: "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation," White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President, May 2010.
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