Michelle Obama to US Mayors: Let’s fight childhood obesity together!

On Tuesday, hospital The President established a Task Force on Childhood Obesity.

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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Memorandum — Establishing a Task Force on Childhood Obesity


SUBJECT: Establishing a Task Force on Childhood Obesity

Across our country, childhood obesity has reached epidemic rates and, as a result, our children may live shorter lives than their parents. Obesity has been recognized as a problem for decades, but efforts to address this crisis to date have been insufficient. My Administration is committed to redoubling our efforts to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation through a comprehensive approach that builds on effective strategies, engages families and communities, and mobilizes both public and private sector resources.

Nearly one third of children in America are overweight or obese — a rate that has tripled in adolescents and more than doubled in younger children since 1980.  One third of all individuals born in the year 2000 or later will eventually suffer from diabetes over the course of their lifetime, while too many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.  Without effective intervention, many more children will endure serious illnesses that will put a strain on our health-care system. We must act now to improve the health of our Nation’s children and avoid spending billions of dollars treating preventable disease.

Therefore, I have set a goal to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. The First Lady will lead a national public awareness effort to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity.  She will encourage involvement by actors from every sector — the public, nonprofit, and private sectors, as well as parents and youth — to help support and amplify the work of the Federal Government in improving the health of our children.  But to meet our goal, we must accelerate implementation of successful strategies that will prevent and combat obesity. Such strategies include updating child nutrition policies in a way that addresses the best available scientific information, ensuring access to healthy, affordable food in schools and communities, as well as increasing physical activity and empowering parents and caregivers with the information and tools they need to make good choices for themselves and their families. To succeed, these efforts must be strategically targeted, and accountability should be clear. They will help our children develop lifelong healthy habits, ensuring they reach their greatest potential toward building a healthier and more prosperous America.  To these ends, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1.  Establishment of the Task Force on Childhood Obesity.  There is established a Task Force on Childhood Obesity (Task Force) to develop an interagency action plan to solve the problem of obesity among our Nation’s children within a generation.  The Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy shall serve as Chair of the Task Force.

(a)  Membership of the Task Force. In addition to the Chair, the Task Force shall consist of the following members, or any senior official designated by one of the following members who is a part of the member’s department, agency, or office, and who is a full time officer or employee of the Federal Government:

(1) the Secretary of the Interior;

(2) the Secretary of Agriculture;

(3)  the Secretary of Health and Human Services;

(4)  the Secretary of Education;

(5)  the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

(6) the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady;

(7)  the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; and

(8)  the heads of other executive departments, agencies, or offices as the Chair may designate.

At the direction of the Chair, the Task Force may establish subgroups consisting exclusively of Task Force members or their designees under this section, as appropriate.

(b)  Administration of the Task Force.  The Department of Health and Human Services shall provide funding and administrative support for the Task Force to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations.

Sec. 2.  Mission and Functions of the Task Force.  The Task Force shall work across executive departments and agencies to develop a coordinated Federal response while also identifying nongovernmental actions that can be taken to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. The functions of the Task Force are advisory only and shall include, but are not limited to, making recommendations to meet the following objectives:

(a) ensuring access to healthy, affordable food;

(b) increasing physical activity in schools and communities;

(c) providing healthier food in schools; and

(d) empowering parents with information and tools to make good choices for themselves and their families.

Sec. 3Interagency Action Plan.  Within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop and submit to the President a comprehensive interagency plan that:

(a) details a coordinated strategy by executive departments and agencies to meet the objectives of the Task Force and identifies areas for reform to ensure complementary efforts and avoid duplication, both across the Federal Government and between other public or nongovernmental actors;

(b) includes comprehensive, multi-sectoral strategies from each member executive department, agency, or office and describes the status and scope of its efforts to achieve this goal;

(c) identifies key benchmarks and provides for regular measurement, assessment, and reporting of executive branch efforts to combat childhood obesity;

(d) describes a coordinated action plan for identifying relevant evidence gaps and conducting or facilitating needed research to fill those gaps;

(e) assists in the assessment and development of legislative, budgetary, and policy proposals that can improve the health and well-being of children, their families, and communities; and

(f) describes potential areas of collaboration with other public or nongovernmental actors, taking into consideration the types of implementation or research objectives the Federal Government, other public actors, or nongovernmental actors may be particularly well-situated to accomplish.

Sec. 4.  Outreach.  Consistent with the objectives set out in this memorandum, the Task Force, in accordance with applicable law, and in addition to regular meetings, shall conduct outreach with representatives of private and nonprofit organizations, State, tribal and local authorities, and other interested persons that can assist with the Task Force’s development of a detailed set of recommendations to solve the problem of childhood obesity.

Sec. 5.  General Provisions.  (a)  The heads of executive departments and agencies shall assist and provide information to the Task Force, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Task Force.  Each executive department, agency, and office shall bear its own expense for participating in the Task Force.

(b)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)  authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(d)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at

law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 6.  Publication.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-establishing-a-task-force-childhood-obesity

The First Lady addressed the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Wednesday.  She focused on her intention to take a leadership role in the fight against childhood obesity, diabetes and Pregnancy
and the need for Mayors across America to join her.

The video of her remarks are here, rubella
the full text here, and an excerpt of her remarks follows:

It makes sense that this organization, composed of mayors across the political spectrum, would take the lead on this issue. Because like much of what you do each day, this isn’t a partisan issue. This has nothing to do with whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, liberal or conservative. It’s about the kind of future we want for our kids. And it’s about whether we’re willing to use both our policies and our bully pulpits to build that future.

That’s what [Oklahoma City]Mayor Cornett did, when he started talking about the problem of obesity and lost 40 pounds himself to get down to his target weight. And the people of his city took notice. When he goes to restaurants now, everyone watches what he orders. And a reporter quoted one of his constituents saying, “When the mayor pushes you to lose weight, that says something.”

That’s the kind of impact each of you can have. That’s the power that raising awareness and setting an example yourself can have on an entire city or town.

And that’s what I hope to do during my time as First Lady. That’s why, next month, I’ll be launching a major initiative on childhood obesity that mobilizes the combined resources of the federal government to work with partners across the country, including mayors like all of you, and others in the foundation, business and non-profit sectors.

The idea here is very simple: to put in place commonsense, innovative solutions that empower families and communities to make healthy decisions for their kids.

That includes increasing the number of “healthy schools” where kids have access to nutritious food; providing more opportunities for kids to be physically active; ensuring that affordable healthy food is available in more communities; and giving parents the information they need to make good choices for themselves and their families.

And going forward, I want to hear more from all of you about this. We need your ideas and input. We want to hear your thoughts about which strategies and programs are really working, and which aren’t. We’re looking to you to be leaders on the frontlines of this effort across the country.

In the end, I know that achieving all this won’t be easy – and it won’t be quick. This isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved in one year, or even one Administration. But make no mistake about it, this problem can be solved.

We don’t need to wait for some new invention or discovery to make this happen. This doesn’t require fancy tools or technologies. We have everything thing we need right now – we have the information; we have the ideas; and we have the desire to start solving America’s childhood obesity problem. The only question is whether we have the will. Are we willing to work across party lines to give our kids a healthy future? Are we willing to change our own habits as we work to change theirs? Are we willing to make every decision about our schools, communities, and cities with the health and well-being of our children in mind? In the end, are we willing to put our kids first?

I’m here today because I think we are – because I think we all know exactly what’s at stake here. It’s what I think about when I tuck my girls into bed at night – how I want them to be happy and healthy and have every chance to follow their aspirations and ambitions. I want them to have the tools they need to succeed in life: not just the education and opportunities – but the physical and emotional strength to seize those opportunities. I want them to be able to engage in life with the energy, endurance, and focus they need to meet the challenges they’ll face along the way.

* Image: First lady Michelle Obama is introduced before address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010. From left are, Burnsville, Minn Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, Mrs. Obama, Trenton, N.J. Mayor Douglas Palmer and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

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