Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our Champion for Change

I don't care how you feel about her husband or his politics, First Lady Michelle Obama is doing amazing work with respect to changing how this country eats.  Not only did she plant a garden on the White House lawn but she has now set her sights on fighting childhood obesity.  She doesn't want to just make a dent in the problem either, she wants to solve it, and within one generation.

In February, she launched the Let's Move campaign and soon after, President Obama appointed a task force to give recommendations on how to solve the problem of childhood obesity.  This week, that task force submitted their recommendations to the President.  You can read the brief summary here or the whole 124-page report here.

In short, the task force made recommendations within five major areas, early childhood, empowering parents and caregivers, healthier food choices in school, improving access to healthy foods and increasing physical activity.  Marion Nestle did a great job of summarizing some of the key recommendations on her recent blog post

Reading the recommendations I'm impressed with two things. First, this report mobilizes a group of federal and local agencies.  The problem of obesity is a complex problem with no simple answer.  Smartly, Obama knew that she needed the help of the FTC, USDA, DHHS, EPA and HUD (to name a few) to help solve the problem. 

Secondly, the report has recommendations in many different areas. The recommendations deal with everything from breastfeeding promotion, helping increase the availability of healthy foods in poor urban and rural areas, encouraging food companies to standardize nutrition labeling on the front of packaged food, helping schools upgrade their equipment to give them the availability to actually cook more food, and asking restaurants to decrease portions and improve children menus.

The truth is that there are many factors that have caused our nation's children to gain weight and it will require a broad, far-reaching change to find a solution.  It's been said we need a food revolution in this country.  Mrs. Obama and her Let's Move campaign just handed us the blueprint.  I am proud to have the First Lady as our champion for change and I'm behind her all the way!

3 comments:

  1. I'm definitely proud of what Michelle Obama is saying.

    But is she saying it in a way that's substantially different from other first ladies?

    Nancy Reagan got a lot of press with Just Say No, but I'm not aware of any real difference in drug use after that campaign. And yes, there is already public awareness of the problems of obesity and general nutrition and probably a willingness to address them that was absent with Mrs. Reagan's drug campaign.

    But how will this be different, do you think?

    I'm really curious, I have no idea how this will shake out.

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  2. In my opinion, the difference is the scope of recommendations to the President. It is one of the first times that there has been a plan put together to help improve our eating habits that focuses on so many areas.

    Like you said there is increased public awareness to the topic of obesity but that is not enough. We need to start a movement to help bring about this change. As an RD, I'm more hopeful than ever that this country can turn around our eating habits.

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  3. I really hope she WILL keep the pressure on and make families aware...and the message needs to get out there in many languages, not just English. This is a national and cultural problem. I think that the lobbyists for the fast food industry, are as "rotten" as the lobbyists for the oil industry and insurance industry. The need to be taken to task by Mrs. Obama, and maybe forced to eat that stuff 3X a day until they explode!

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