Matthew Holt

A new campaign against childhood obesity

There are intractable long-term problems and then there’s America’s waistlines. And in particular there’s the issue of childhood obesity. I shudder to think what we can do about it, and recently interviewed Alan Greene on the topic of changing eating habits for children.

Earlier this week First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off a campaign to try to end childhood obesity within a generation. The campaign is called “Let’s Move

One of the point people behind the campaign is Kaiser Permanente’s SVP of Community Outreach Raymond Baxter. KP has joined with several foundations (including the Nemours, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and Alliance for a Healthier Generation) and they’re working on an extremely ambitious program called the Partnership for a Healthier America.

How ambitious? And can it be done? I spoke to Raymond yesterday to find out. Here’s the interview

And in case you want to know who this is about, here’s a photo of my nephew Alex born on Wednesday.


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  1. I saw a news report about a program that brings fitness into to the classroom and I think is a really good idea. Kids are just not getting the exercise they need anymore and not eating right
    The campaign reinvents recess by pairing dance instructors with schools to increase students’ activity through creative movement. Until recently, the program was only implemented in Connecticut schools but is now available to schools across the country.
    As part of the launch of the program, a nationwide video contest has been announced for children and young teens in grades 2 through 8 across the United States in addressing childhood obesity. I found this information on their site,

  2. Childhood obesity is a great point.Kids are naturally active and get great exercise even on their own. They are suppose to spend 8 hours a day running around outside. Then the adults command them indoors, sit them down for most of the day, give them a pile of homework and make them watch TV for the rest of the day. Perhaps parents can spend time doing recreational activities at home or at the park, instead. Most of all, parents should be role models to their children to help create in their young minds a mental model of a good health.Kids do not walk to school because of fear that something untoward, unpredictable, and dangerous will occur to them. Encouraging them to walk or ride their bikes to school accompanied an adult. You can demonstrate the importance of physical activity by walking or biking with your child.

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  4. I believe the solutions starts with getting kids outside and playing the way they used to. Here in the UK most kids seems content with watching TV and playing video games all day, rather than going out – and parents let them because they’re scared of what might happen to them if they do go out.

  5. We must target the parents. Obese parents have obese children. There is no point in teaching children healthy eating in school if they go home and find junk in the fridge.

  6. It is really a matter on concern that the rate of obesity in children has increased tripled between 1976 and 2004. This is due to the lack of exercise and food choice awareness. Junk foods, oily foods, high carbohydrate foods make the teens overweight. Exercise programs are good for reducing body weight for life long. Now parents also have options for their obesity affected kids to send them weight loss boot camps or summer camps where physical training is provided by expert trainers to get fat free body frequently After all a balanced body makes the personality attractive.

  7. Did you know there is the first child fitness iPhone app? It’s called KIDFIT. and it offers more than 150 safe, fun fitness exercises to youth at all athletic levels. I think this is an innovative way to combat childhood obesity. Check it out!

  8. The real issue lies in the fact that we continue to pursue failed efforts of the past. I work for a revolutionary website, where we give kids the power and voice to decide what healthy meals choices they want to make. We can no longer rely on parents, schools or government to take control as these tactics will not work. Give kids the choice and make healthy eating fun for them. We need a revolution, not more of the same.

  9. I’m thankful to Mrs. Obama for getting involved through project Let’s Move. Promoting healthier lifestyles for our children will take everyones help to change behaviors. Yes, changing food choices at school and exercise is important, but it must also extend beyond the playground. Parent should also play a dominent role model, eating healthy. Technology I believe has also played a part in child and adult obesity. Generations past people had to walk everywhere they went, now we have automobiles. In addittion, television, computers and video games keep people chair bound. Here again the parents must be the role model by limiting or removing the TV, computer, video games.

  10. Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. Hopefully the campaign will have a positive impact. I agree with previous comments posted. Much of this problem is related to today’s kids being parked in front of their facebook accounts, televisions and on their couches with their ipods at home. They need some good old fashioned exercise…maybe a neighborhood game of tag 🙂 What did children used to do for fun before all this technology came about?

  11. Nice touch, Nate…
    My school district does not have school buses for the kids that live in the district. It does have buses for the kids that are bused in from the city.
    The net result is the longest carpool lines you have ever seen in elementary and middle school, and the biggest and fullest parking lot in high school. The only kids that walk to school are those that live a stone throw away from school, and not even those in high school.
    If they eliminate the city buses, we all know what that implies, and it is NOT better health.
    When you have a choice between a full meal or an orange for 99 cents, the poor will pick the full meal, even if they know fully well that it’s unhealthy, and most don’t.
    Have you seen the TV ads barrage with 99 cents “deals”, aimed at young workers and kids, since the economy started to tank?
    Did you know that Olympians eat at McDonalds?
    Cigarette ads are banned from TV. What is the difference between tobacco and junk food? Other than the fact that junk food will kill you slower and at much larger taxpayer expense….

  12. I commend the First Lady’s efforts to bring this health crisis issue to greater awareness. Too bad her husband is destroying what health care is available and will eliminate it for the elderly (at least the way it is leaning now).

  13. unsafe neighborhoods kids will need to learn to run fast, make them even healthier. Cold weather builds fortitude.

  14. “Eliminate school buses”
    For elementary age students as well? From what distance would you establish a cut off? Don’t you think their parents have cars or SUVs or even teenage students? What about inner city unsafe neighborhoods? And in winter what temperature or weather condition would you establish walking? My “solutions” don’t require new spending, in fact a calorie tax is revenue to cover bad habits the rest of society has to pay for – isn’t that “personal responsibility”?

  15. Why must everyone make everything so difficult and every solution come in the form of new spending and more governemnt. Easy solution and as an added bonus help the enviroment.
    Eliminate school buses

  16. Solution for Madame Obama. Have the US provide blackberries to all kids so that they are not tethered to their computers and face books at the kitchen table.
    Look how the Pres walks around twirling the track ball on his. He is a role model for IT solving all problems. Give portable IT a try for obesity.

  17. I appreciate Mrs. Obama’s effort but the countries message is much different than the individuals state message. Due to economic hardships, many states are cutting educational programs for kids. Once again, mixed messages prevail

  18. Nice touch Ms. Obama, but the real solution lies in reforming our corporate food chain. Helping to make healthy food more affordable by switching corn subsidies to fresh fruits and vegetables, as noted above drastically reducing HFCS and other sugars, banning junk food ads to children, ending the disgusting factory farm methods used to fatten chickens, pigs, and cows, and slapping a calorie tax on fast food to be used to promote food education, healthy school lunches, restore phys/ed in schools, and pay for health problems from marketing plain old junk food with no redeeming characteristic except taste. But since the Supreme Court gave it’s blessing to unlimited corporate political spending, we won’t be able to count on our “representatives” to fix anything except the next election.

  19. Start with the Elimination of High Fruitose CORN SYRUP. A process that uses sulfuric acid to break down the Corn.

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