ABC News’ Yunji de Nies Reports:
First Lady Michelle Obama says the country now has a road map to reach her stated goal of curbing childhood obesity within a generation.
“We all know that it’s possible. We know we have the tools, we know we have the resources to make this happen. And now, thanks to the work of the Task Force, we have a road map for implementing our plan across our government and across the country,” Mrs. Obama said.
The First Lady unveiled the Childhood Obesity Task Force’s 90-day review, which the President ordered after the February launch of the Let’s Move! initiative. The review includes more than 70 recommendations encompassing a variety of federal agencies, calling for more access to healthy food, safer routes for kids to walk and bike to school, expanding physical education in school, including more children in the federal school lunch program, even encouraging all primary care physicians to assess BMI during regular checkups by 2012.
“We don’t need new discoveries or new inventions to reverse this trend,” Mrs. Obama said. “All we need is the motivation, the opportunity and the willpower to do what needs to be done.”
With the First Lady leading the charge, the Task Force hopes to reduce the number of overweight and obese children from its current levels of nearly one in three children, down to five-percent of kids by 2030. Cabinet members and Administration officials will also play a big part in addressing the issue. This month alone, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez, DOI National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, along with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will each hold events tailored to reinforce the get fit message.
While these efforts are critical, Mrs. Obama said that ultimately the solutions will not come solely from Washington.
“We all know the dangers of childhood obesity, and the toll that it takes on our children, our families, and our country,” Mrs. Obama said, “Now we just need to follow through with the plan. We just need everyone to do their part — and it’s going to take everyone. No one gets off the hook on this one — from governments to schools, corporations to non-profits, all the way down to families sitting around their dinner table.”
The 124-page report is a series of recommendations, but so far includes little legislation to put teeth into any of the measures. For example, while the report calls for the Federal Trade Commission to encourage advertisers to limit the marketing of junk food to children, when asked, the FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said his agency will try to accomplish this by “shaming” companies into compliance, rather than pursuing any new legal requirements.
FLOTUS Fashion Watch: Mrs. Obama wore navy blue slacks, with a three quarter length sleeve blue patterned silk jacket over a blue and white floral print blouse, topped with a navy patent leather belt and silver flats.
- Yunji deNies