Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Vilsack Focuses on Childhood Obesity, Let's Move! Campaign

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Vilsack Focuses on Childhood Obesity, Let's Move! Campaign

Article excerpt

With more than half of American children facing serious nutrition challenges, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called on local officials to partner with the Obama Administration in tackling this issue that has economic competitiveness and national security ramifications.

Vilsack addressed the Delegates Luncheon during the Congress of Cities & Exposition in Denver following a video greeting from first lady Michelle Obama.

The first lady stressed that one in three American children are either overweight or obese; her Let's Move initiative aims to end childhood obesity in a generation.

At the same time, Vilsack said, one in four children lives in a home in which at least some members went without one or more meals during a 30-day period because there weren't enough resources to feed the family.

"It's tough to be at the top of your game academically if you're hungry," the secretary said.

And today's youngsters must be at the top of their game because they must compete not only against others in their hometowns, but against children worldwide, he said.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Compounding that are obesity-related health issues, like heart disease and diabetes, that substantially increase health care costs at a time when the nation is looking to reduce such costs.

The secretary spoke of a group of 155 retired generals and admirals who, in supporting recently passed child nutrition legislation, pointed out that only 25 percent of Americans aged 19 to 24 are fit for military service. …

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