America is suffering from not only an obesity epidemic, but also a childhood obesity epidemic. For the children effected, this means a large increase in Type 2 Diabetes (used to be called adult-onset diabetes), hypertension, and a general reduction in quality-of-life.
Who is to blame for this epidemic? Well, I think a big part of the blame lies with the industries that profit from this epidemic, the junk-food industry and of course the television industry. Children’s TV especially gets most of it’s profits from endless Junk-food commercials and junk-food product placements. In addition, the TV keeps kids sitting on the couch, giving them lots of time to eat yet more junk food and watch yet more commercials.
The junk-food industry and the TV industry belittle and dismiss concerns about this epidemic. And in addition, a lot of people take offense at the very idea that some lifestyle choices are healthier than others.
So extra kudos for Michelle Obama for taking on a politically sensitive, and often neglected subject.
A centerpiece of her effort to fight the obesity epidemic is her excellent website:
Let’s Move http://www.letsmove.gov/index.html
Unlike countless articles and posts focusing purely on the negative effects junk-food, Let Move also looks at the importance of exercise and play:
“Children need 60 minutes of active and vigorous play every day to grow up to a healthy weight.(source) If this sounds like a lot, consider that 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 ½ hours to using entertainment media including TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies in a typical day, and only a third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity. To increase physical activity, today’s children need safe routes to walk and ride to school, parks, playgrounds and community centers where they can play and be active after school, and sports, dance or fitness programs that are exciting and challenging to keep them engaged.”
What else is Let’s Move doing? Here’s some examples:
Update: excellent article in Childhood Obesity News TV Makes Kids Fat or Fatter, Take Your Choice
Update: excellent article in Rudd Sound Bites Michelle Obama Says, “Let’s Move!”
Update: excellent article in Dr. Kal’s Weight Loss Tips Combating Childhood Obesity