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Michelle Obama's obesity plan, in the Nick of time

The nutrition world is all atwitter over First Lady Michelle Obama's new campaign to combat child obesity. It's a major effort and her pet topic. But it's always hard to judge whether ambitious programs such as the one she spelled out today will seep sufficiently into Americans' day-to-day lives to make a dent in the obesity epidemic.

The new "Let's Move" initiative aims to improve school nutrition programs, help parents get a better handle on choosing healthful foods for their families, bolster school- and community-based opportunities for physical activity, and eliminate "food deserts", areas where people lack access to decent grocery stores. Some of what's included was already in the works -- revamping the Food Pyramid, for instance, is a logical extension of the ongoing revision of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The FDA had already said it was going to push for a universal front-of-package food labeling system and Congress has had reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act on its to-do list since the act expired last fall.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the initiative is the support of the new Partnership for a Healthier America, also announced today, and the broader collaboration Obama has in mind. Rather than having government dictate all the specifics, her program calls for bringing together players from the public and private, for-profit and non-profit worlds to come up with solutions. And so far, so good: Since this morning's announcement, I've received a number of press notices from organizations saying they've proudly joined the cause.

It's great to see the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association's on board. But it's better still to see that Nickelodeon has pledged to lend a hand.

Let the doctors and politicians do what they will to curb childhood obesity in this generation, the campaign's goal. But if you want kids to buy into that effort, it's good to have the likes of Nick in your corner.

For more on Michelle Obama's plan to fight childhood obesity, see the Post's Special Report.

Please follow Jennifer on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jhuget.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  February 9, 2010; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Family Health , Health Policy , Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity  
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Comments

First she needs to lose her caboose before she starts lecturing anyone else!

Posted by: jpost1 | February 9, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I think it's fantastic that she's choosing to aid in the fight against childhood obesity. Everyone who is concerned about the health of our children should be supportive of her efforts - we are headed toward some disastrous health consequences physically and economically unless something is done about the way Americans eat.

It is heartbreaking to see so many overweight children - they are teased by others, and have a hard time taking part in many activities because of their size.

Mrs. Obama appears to be a very healthy roll model who exercises daily and eats the right kinds of foods - I believe that many will listen to her.

Posted by: DESS1 | February 10, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I think Ms. Obama's womanly size will help her in this campaign. She's reaching out to a group that by definition is not likely to related to skinny-Minny spokespersons.

Getting the idea out there that mothers should kick children off the couch and encourage them towards healthful eating and activity is important.

I hope they can get outlets like the Food Network on-board as well.

Posted by: RedBird27 | February 12, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

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