President Barack Obama kicked off the launch by signing a Presidential Memorandum creating the first ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity which will include the DPC, Office of the First Lady, Interior, USDA, HHS, Education, NEC and other agencies. Within 90 days, the Task Force will conduct a review of every single program and policy relating to child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national action plan that maximizes federal resources and sets concrete benchmarks toward First Lady Michelle Obama’s national goal.
While the review is underway, Administration and public and private efforts are already moving to combat obesity and reach the First Lady’s national goal:
Helping Parents Make Healthy Family Choices
Parents play a key role in making healthy choices for their children and teaching their children to make healthy choices for themselves. But in today’s busy world, this isn’t always easy. So Let’s Move will offer parents the tools, support and information they need to make healthier choices for their families. The Administration, along with partners in the private sector and medical community, will:
Empower Consumers: By the end of this year, the Food and Drug Administration will begin working with retailers and manufacturers to adopt new nutritionally sound and consumer friendly frontof- package labeling. This will put us on a path towards 65 million parents in America having easy access to the information needed to make healthy choices for their children.
Already, the private sector is responding. Today, the American Beverage Association announced that its member companies will voluntarily put a clear, uniform, front-of-pack calorie label on all of their cans, bottles, vending and fountain machines within two years. The label will reflect total calories per container in containers up to 20 oz. in size. For containers greater than 20 oz., the label will reflect a 12 oz. serving size. While more work remains to be done, this marks an important first step in ensuring parents have the information they need to make healthier choices
Provide Parents with a Rx for Healthier Living: The American Academy of Pediatrics, in collaboration with the broader medical community, will educate doctors and nurses across the country about obesity, ensure they regularly monitor children’s BMI, provide counseling for healthy eating early on, and, for the first time ever, will even write a prescription for parents laying out the simple things they can do to increase healthy eating and active play.
Major New Public Information Campaign: Major media companies – including the Walt Disney Company, NBC, Universal and Viacom – have committed to join the First Lady’s effort and increase public awareness of the need to combat obesity through public service announcements (PSAs), special programming, and marketing. The Ad Council, Warner Brothers and Scholastic Media have also partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to run PSAs featuring top professional athletes, Scholastic Media’s Maya & Miguel, and Warner Brothers’ legendary Looney Tunes characters.
Next Generation Food Pyramid: To help people make healthier food and physical activity choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will revamp the famous food pyramid. MyPyramid.gov is one of the most popular websites in the federal government, and a 2.0 version of the Web site will offer consumers a host of tools to help them put the Dietary Guidelines into practice.
Empower Change: USDA has created the firstever interactive database – the Food Environment Atlas – that maps healthy food environments at the local level across the country. It will help people identify the existence of food deserts, high incidences of diabetes, and other conditions in their communities. This information can be used by parents, educators, government and businesses to create change across the country.
LetsMove.gov: To help children parents, teachers, doctors, coaches, the nonprofit and business communities and others understand the epidemic of childhood obesity and take steps to combat it, the Administration has launched a new “one-stop” shopping website — LetsMove.gov — to provide helpful tips, step-by-step strategies for parents, and regular updates on how the federal government is working with partners to reach the national goal.
Serving Healthier Food in Schools
Many children consume as many as half of their daily calories at school. As families work to ensure that kids eat right and have active play at home, we also need to ensure our kids have access to healthy meals in their schools. With more than 31 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 11 million participating in the National School Breakfast Program, good nutrition at school is more important than ever. Together with the private sector and the non-profi t community, we will take the following steps to get healthier food in our nation’s schools:
Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act: The Administration is requesting an historic investment of an additional $10 billion over ten years starting in 2011 to improve the quality of the National School Lunch and Breakfast program, increase the number of kids participating, and ensure schools have the resources they need to make program changes, including training for school food service workers, upgraded kitchen equipment, and additional funding for meal reimbursements. With this investment, additional fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products will be served in our school cafeterias and an additional one million students will be served in the next five years.
Double the number of schools participating in the Healthier US School Challenge: The Healthier US School Challenge establishes rigorous standards for schools’ food quality, participation in meal programs, physical activity, and nutrition education – the key components that make for healthy and active kids – and provides recognition for schools that meet these standards. Over the next school year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working with partners in schools and the private sector, will double the number of schools that meet the Healthier US School Challenge and add 1,000 schools per year for two years after that.
We are bringing to the table key stakeholder groups that have committed to work together to improve the nutritional quality of school meals across the country.
New Commitments from Major School Food Suppliers: School food suppliers are taking important first steps to help meet the Healthier US School Challenge goal. Major school food suppliers including Sodexho, Chartwells School Dining Services, and Aramark have voluntarily committed to meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations within five years to decrease the amount of sugar, fat and salt in school meals; increase whole grains; and double the amount of produce they serve within 10 years. By the end of the 2010-2011 school year, they have committed to quadruple the number of the schools they serve that meet the Healthier US School Challenge.
School Nutrition Association: The School Nutrition Association (SNA), which represents food service workers in more than 75% of the nation’s schools, has joined the Let’s Move campaign. Working with other education partners, SNA has committed to increasing education and awareness of the dangers of obesity among their members and the students they serve, and ensuring that the nutrition programs in 10,000 schools meet the Healthier US School Challenge standards over the next five years.
School Leadership: Working with school food service providers and SNA, the National School Board Association, the Council of Great City Schools and the American Association of School Administrators Council have all embraced, and committed to meeting, the national Let’s Move goal. The Council of Great City Schools has also has set a goal of having every urban school meet the Healthier US Schools gold standard within five years. The American Association of School Administrators has committed to ensuring that an additional 2,000 schools meet the challenge over the next two years. These combined efforts will touch 50 million students and their families in every school district in America.
Accessing Healthy, Affordable Food
More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket. These communities, where access to affordable, quality, and nutritious foods is limited, are known as food deserts. Lack of access is one reason why many children are not eating recommended levels of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And food insecurity and hunger among children is widespread. A recent USDA report showed that in 2008, an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year. The Administration, through new federal investments and the creation of public private partnerships, will:
Eliminate Food Deserts: As part of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget, the Administration announced the new Healthy Food Financing Initiative – a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services that will invest $400 million a year to help bring grocery stores to under-served areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options. Through these initiatives and private sector engagement, the Administration will work to eliminate food deserts across the country within seven years.
Increase Farmers Markets: The President’s 2011 Budget proposes an additional $5 million investment in the Farmers Market Promotion Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture which provides grants to establish, and improve access to, farmers markets.
Increasing Physical Activity
Children need 60 minutes of active play each day. Yet, the average American child spends more than 7.5 hours a day watching TV and movies, using cell phones and computers, and playing video games, and only a third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity. Through public-private partnerships, and reforms of existing federal programs, the Administration will address this imbalance by:
Expanding and Modernizing the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge: In the coming weeks, the President will be naming new members to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, housed at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The council will be charged with increasing participation in the President’s Challenge and with modernizing and expanding it, so that it is consistent with the latest research and science.
For more information, please visit www.letsmove.gov.
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