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Michelle Obama to Launch Childhood Obesity Effort

Better eating habits, improved nutrition and a more physically fit America do not have to come with a high price tag and all are imperative to this country's economy, its future productivity and the well-being of the next generation of children. That was the message first lady Michelle Obama delivered Wednesday afternoon to the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Capital Hilton.

For more than 20 minutes, Obama highlighted the stark statistics related to childhood obesity: One in three children in this country is either overweight or obese. One-third of all children today will eventually suffer from diabetes. And a recent study found that obesity could be an even greater threat to the nation's health than smoking.

But all is not lost, Obama assured her audience -- an overflow crowd of some 200 mayors and their staff that greeted her entry with a standing ovation and a lone "whoof whoof" of approval. Help is coming in the form of a major initiative, Obama promised, as she beat the drumroll for the unveiling, in early February, of a wide-ranging program to combat childhood obesity. It will combine the resources of the federal government with the local efforts of mayors, the knowledge gathered by foundations and the tireless foot soldiers from nonprofit organizations.

"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," she said. Her initiative will focus on improved school lunches, more…
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