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!