From Frugivore  —  Change. It’s a familiar word that’s become the backbone of a powerful presidential campaign and family that’s altered the face of the United States of America. The First Family has not only exemplified leadership potential in government, but also inspired countless Americans to question individual potential and what “next generation” America could possibly look like. As President Obama has his hands wrapped up in pressing legislative and economic concerns, First Lady Michelle Obama has taken on an enormous task: childhood obesity.

She shares, “In the end, as First Lady, this isn’t just a policy issue for me. This is a passion. This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.”

The First Lady’s government and community-backed Let’s Move initiative is up against a national health crisis though. One in every three children ages 2-19 is overweight or obese, and causing an estimated 3 billion dollars in direct medical costs per year. One third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime, and unsurprisingly, this generation may have a shorter lifespan than their parents. Obesity causes approximately 112,000 deaths per year in the United States, and obese adults incur an estimated 1,429 dollars in medical costs per year. Nationally, medical spending on adults attributed to obesity topped an estimated 40 billion dollars in 1998, but in 2008, had increased to approximately 147 billion dollars.

(Continue Reading @ Frugivore…)

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  • African Mami

    Introduce agriculture in the school systems!!!!!!! Teach kids using practical and fun means of healthy living………..it is quite admirable what she is doing but frankly speaking it will take an entire village to pull this!

    • WifeLoveMommy

      Disagree. Focus shouldnt be on school nor the ‘village’ when it comes to teaching our children healthy eating habits. Focus should be on home. Its a parent’s job to ensure that their job eats properly and maintains an active lifestyle. We have to stop expecting outsiders to teach our children home values; this includes eating habits. Yes, schools should reinforce healthy eating and healthy activities, but schools should not be the initial teachers of eating healthy.
      Schools don’t even allow proper time for outdoor play and activities (as a former teacher, my school included recess in the 40 minute lunch period). I doubt many schools will start an agiculture program. If that is something you propose you should initiate that program at your local school, community center, and/or home, but dont leave it up to schools.
      I believe that recess and more physical activities should be placed back in our schools. But with federal and not local government controlling of schools this is less likely to happen.

    • African Mami

      @ WifeLoveMommy,

      Yes it should be the parents prerogative to ensure that their kids are eating nutritious meals and are part of an active lifestyle that promotes their well being. Unfortunately some parents do not even know what a healthy meal constitutes of or what a healthy lifestyle entails. That’s where education comes in, to bridge the gap and miseducate the misguided.

      It does not hurt to think outside of the box from time to time. I proposed agriculture, because I think it is often times neglected, and yet it is very key. As far as I am concerned food should be eaten in it most purest of forms without much of chemical alterations. Through agricultural lessons, these kids will learn the benefits that come of that.

      A village will be needed to take care of this situation because, our kids go to school and have meals whose greater percentage constitutes of hormones and chemicals. As such pressure needs to be put on schools to provide nutritious -if not organic meals that are for the betterment of the body rather than detrimental. I have to rush to class…will continue this debate later!

    • WifeLoveMommy

      @African Mami
      I must say that school meals have improved, but there is a long way to go. In the meantime, don’t wait for politicians and schools to fix what’s harming our kids (unhealthy diets). The same energy parents put into dicussing what schools should do, parents can do faster and with greater results. Personally, I find it quite strange that parents complain about school meals and still allow their children to eat them.
      And as far as adding programs, many schools are taking away the basic programs and classes due to the lack of federal funding. Therefore, dont wait for them to pick up the slack. It’s not going to happen.
      And as for those without education, many parents are aware of the dangers of eating poorly due to their own persanal experiences with health problems and aslo due to the fact that this issue has been a hot discussion for years. But many parents find it easier and less expensive to provide unhealthy meals. Please, let’s not pretend that there are many parents that knowingly and willingly contribute to their children’s poor eating habits.
      We have to take responsibilty for our kids and our community and not wait for politicians and outsiders to fight the battle for us. Personally, I believe breakfast should be taken out of schools (a family should eat together) and lunches from home should be the norm.

    • African Mami

      @ WifeLoveMommy,

      I totally agree with you on the greater percentage of your child’s lifestyle well being lying squarely on the parents shoulder, but I guess the point I am trying to make is outside of the home, we need to have a system in place that compliments the one already established at home. Entities like the government, schools, fast-food establishments should also make their small imprint in the war against obesity, albeit with profit intents.

    • Trini

      @AfricanMami & @WifeLoveMommy. You both make very valid points.

      But a HUGE part of the problem is the price of healthy foods. I cant tell you how disgusted I am at the fact that its become much more economical to eat McDonalds as opposed to fresh fruits and vegs along with whole grains etc. Until that global issue is addressed, even the changes attempted by honest well-meaning people will only go so far. Because the fact is, sadly there are millions families out there who simply cannot afford to consistantly provide healthy meals for their children.

    • African Mami

      @ Trini,

      Adopting an organic lifestyle does not have to be expensive. Shop smartly. Use coupons. Case and point, instead of buying your fruits and veggies at say “Stop and Shop” opt to buy them at ethnic stores (what’s the politically correct term for this?!).They tend to be cheaper and fresher! Check out your local farmers market for fresh produce, sold at an affordable price.

      If you live in the NorthEastern state areas, namely: NY, CT, MA, RI, NH: consider PriceRite, your best friend. There veggies and fruit selection is very varied and they usually have a lot of the ethnic foods consumed by the dominant ethnic group in that particular community.
      http://www.priceritesupermarkets.com/

      Should you live in New York, make a trip to Spanish Harlem, organic food is dirt cheap!

      McDonald’s food is VERY cheap and not just pocket wise, but also in regards to nutrition. The cost of consuming fast foods is higher in the long run, in regards to compromises made to your health and don’t forget hospital visits that may come as a result.

      I found this interesting article on calorie intakes, on the so called healthy foods from McDonald.
      http://www.livestrong.com/article/86901-calorie-count-mcdonalds-foods/
      You might just pay $5 but, think about the long term effects to your body.

      Organic foods may be expensive, but if you shop wise…your pocket ain’t gonna be burned.

    • Trini

      @AfricanMami

      “Organic foods may be expensive, but if you shop wise…your pocket ain’t gonna be burned.” Once again I totally agree with you!

      But I cant imagine for example being a single parent with 3, 4 or more kids and trying to consistently feed all of them organic whole foods on what is most likely an already super tight budget. My heart goes out to people who have to fight that fight!

    • WifeLoveMommy

      @ African Mami
      Yes, when I lived on the East Coast I shopped at local ”Spanish” stores in order to save money.
      @Trini
      I do agree that healthier foods are more expensive, but this doesnt mean that soda, chips, fast food, etc should be a part of our daily diets. We can drink more water, provide fruit for after school snacks, and serve salad as a regular side dish. Plus, we have to eat smaller portions. If people wanted to they can change their eating habits for the better just by making little changes. Also, parents have to take the time and make home cooked meals to eat around the dinner table instead of serving fast food at the tv. Yes, it’s hard out there, but when it comes to the health of our children, we have to sacrifice being stressed, tired, and overworked, and find ways to provide healthy meals on a smaller budget.

    • Trini

      @WifeLoveMommy

      “Yes, it’s hard out there, but when it comes to the health of our children, we have to sacrifice being stressed, tired, and overworked, and find ways to provide healthy meals on a smaller budget.”

      Very very true!

  • Michelle

    Church’s Chicken and other fast/fake food chains now accept EBT, which will of course make it easier for people who live in food deserts to continue unhealthy eating habits. Truth be told, change starts at home. If parents don’t value good nutrition how will the children?

    • WifeLoveMommy

      Exactly!!!

  • what if you don’t live on the east coast, or the west coast or in a state where there is any progression that fits within your means to afford healthy foods. what if you live in say, mississippi, indiana, illinois, alabama? it’s very easy to say use coupons, but trust me even with coupons what do you think a young family trying to stretch $200 for an entire month is going to do (opt for the healthy, small in quantity hundred calorie snacks or choose the not so healthy, large in quantity debbie cakes)? i’m not trying to down play this problem because it is a sticky stituation for the youth but what options are there for families who are not middle/upper middle class? for example, i walk in the store and white bread is cheaper than wheat, i know wheat is better for me but i’m a college student on a strict budget, what do you think i’m going to choose? i think that situation happens all the time. but i admire mrs. obama for her efforts but if you really want to combat obesity then start with the manufacturers, the grocery stores, the hazardous by products in many of the foods we buy. it’s easy to say one thing, it’s another thing to do. ultimately, it’s very expensive to make a complete change.

    • African Mami

      @ Shug Avery,

      I hear you, loud and clear. The change is going to cost a pretty penny!

    • Trini

      @ShugAvery

      You are definitely right about starting with the manufactures!

      If people only know the whole honest truth about just a few of the ingredients that are in MOST foods that we all eat and feed to small children. Its unbelievable!