First Lady Michelle Obama encourages parents, schools and communities to help change the eating habits of American children.  Nearly 20% of children ages 6 to 11 and 18% of those ages 12 to 19 are obese; a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Mrs. Obama cites a combination  of eating out,  junk food, lack of exercise and two working parents as contributors to this public health challenge. 

The First Lady spoke at a Washington DC area YMCA where she said her family's pediatrician first noted a potential problem "We were fortunate enough to have a pediatrician as I've mentioned that kind of waved the red flag for me as a mother and basically cautioned me that I had to take a look at my own children's BMI [Body Mass Index]....He was concerned that something was off balance because fortunately he was a pediatrician that worked predominately in an African-American urban community."

 

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Mrs. Obama will unveil a national campaign to tackle obesity in children in February. 

The president in his State of the Union address last night credited his wife's effort in promoting good health and eating habits, "I want to acknowledge our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who this year is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make our kids healthier."

Jacqueline Pham