Friday, October 23, 2009

Small Changes to Reduce Childhood Obesity

First Lady Calls for Small Changes to Reduce Childhood Obesity

In a recent address to employees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), First Lady Michelle Obama urged parents to make small changes to improve their children’s health and reduce the risk of obesity, Chicago Breaking News reports. Obama was introduced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who called her the “country’s leading advocate for health and wellness.” In her address, the first lady tackled practical, day-to-day challenges many Americans face when it comes to good nutrition “such as long work hours, dirty or unsafe neighborhood playgrounds, a lack of healthy food options [and] unhealthy take-out food.”

During her speech, the first lady admitted that as recently as two years ago, she had “too often” relied on drive-thru restaurants to feed her daughters until receiving a wake-up call from her children’s pediatrician. The first lady recommended small changes, such as adding more fruits and vegetables to meals and reducing consumption of sugary drinks by switching to water.

Obama, who called childhood obesity a “major public health threat right now,” also encouraged parents to urge their kids to be more active, even in front of the television, and to do more cooking at home. The first lady also urged the crowd to consider medical experts’ warnings that “for the first time in the history of our nation, the next generation may be on track to having a shorter lifespan than this generation, and their parents” (Skiba, Chicago Breaking News, 10/13/09; CBS News, 10/13/09).

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