First Lady Michelle Obama Unveils 70 Tips to Cut Childhood Obesity

Photo: Reuters Pictures/Jim Young

On Wednesday, the White House announced its plan of attack to slim down America's youth with First Lady Michelle Obama outlining 70 recommendations for halting the rise in childhood obesity. The battle plan followed a task force report commissioned by the administration to find new ways to address the fact that one of every three American kids is overweight.

It's a thick report, with lots of fine print, but some of the more interesting recommendations include:

Doctors and nurses should encourage expectant women to breastfeed their newborns. Federal regulators should work with the food industry to developa standard system of nutritional labeling for the front of food packages. USDA officials should help schools connect with local growers and use farm-to-school programs to incorporate locally-sourced fresh food in cafeteria meals.  Retailers and food companies should be provided incentives to help erase urban food deserts. State and local officials should be encouraged to subsidize and supportinterscholastic sports to curb "pay-to-play" barriers that impact low-income students.

Obama said none of the recommendations by themselves are a heavy lift for regulators, schools, industry and communities. The Washington Post quoted the first lady as saying:

We don’t need new discoveries or new inventions to reverse this trend. We have the tools at our disposal to reverse it. All we need is the motivation, the opportunity and the willpower to do what needs to be done.

You can read all of the recommendations here. But this is how the White House summarized their five areas of focus:

Getting children a healthy start on life, with good prenatal care for their parents; support for breastfeeding; limits on “screen time”; and quality child care settings with nutritious food and ample opportunity for young children to be physically active.

Empowering parents and caregivers with simpler, more actionable messages about nutritional choices based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans; improved labels on food and menus that provide clear information to help make healthy choices for children; reduced marketing of unhealthy products to children; and improved health care services, including BMI measurement for all children.

Providing healthy food in schools, through improvements in federally-supported school lunches and breakfasts; upgrading the nutritional quality of other foods sold in schools; and improving nutrition education and the overall school environment.

Improving access to healthy, affordable food, by eliminating “food deserts” in urban and rural America; lowering the relative prices of healthier foods; developing or reformulating food products to be healthier; and reducing the incidence of hunger, which has been linked to obesity.

Getting children more physically active, through quality physical education, recess, and other opportunities in and after school; addressing aspects of the “built environment” that make it difficult for children to walk or bike safely in their communities; and improving access to safe parks, playgrounds, and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities.

Original article from TakePart