First Lady Brings Together Senior Administration Officials, Doctors, Teachers and Experts to Talk Childhood Obesity

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 9, 2010 6:09pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a meeting at the White House today with senior administration officials and members of the Childhood Obesity Task Force to discuss her efforts to tackle this issue and gather input from a wide range of sources.  This year Mrs. Obama launched the “Let’s Move!” campaign with a goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation. President Obama established a task force to develop and submit an interagency plan that coordinates strategy, sets key benchmarks and outlines a game plan to fight this growing public health issue. The first lady said today that the session was the first of its kind at the White House. “It’s one where we’re bringing together teachers and child advocates, doctors and nurses, business leaders, public servants, researchers and health experts to talk about one of the most serious and difficult problems facing our kids today, and that is the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country,” she said. Joining the First Lady at today’s meeting were Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan.
“Folks in this room, all of you working together, can do more than just about anyone to help us tackle this issue,” the first lady said. “What we have done is started a national conversation.  We’ve started an important national conversation.  But we need your help to propel that conversation into a national response.” Mrs. Obama said the meeting participants were there today “because we all care deeply about the health and well-being of America’s children.” “And we’ve gathered folks from across America and across just about every relevant field because, in the end, solving this problem is going to take every single one of us.” The first lady outlined the key steps that she believes are critical to fighting childhood obesity:
- Helping parents by getting companies to offer healthier options and provide customer-friendly labels so Americans have more information about what they are eating
- Providing healthier meals and snacks to the 31 million children getting lunch through the federal lunch program
- Providing families greater, more convenient access to healthy and affordable food in their communities and eliminating “food deserts”
- Get kids more physically active in and outside school. -Karen Travers

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