Michelle Obama unveiled her national public awareness campaign against childhood obesity. White House officials noted that one in three American children is overweight or obese, and such children face higher risks of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other illnesses. Billions of dollars are spent every year treating obesity-related conditions.
Her campaign, called “Let’s Move,” has four parts: helping parents make better food choices, serving healthier food in school vending machines and lunch lines, making healthier food more available and affordable, and encouraging children to exercise more.
The campaign, which the first lady said she hopes will be seen as her legacy, is aimed at solving the childhood obesity problem in a generation, so that children born today can reach adulthood at a healthy weight.
“This isnt like a disease where were still waiting for the cure to be discovered. We know the cure for this,” she said at the unveiling at the White House.
In a memo establishing a task force around childhood obesity, President Obama wrote:
Across our country, childhood obesity has reached epidemic
rates and, as a result, our children may live shorter lives than their
parents. Obesity has been recognized as a problem for decades, but
efforts to address this crisis to date have been insufficient. My
Administration is committed to redoubling our efforts to solve the
problem of childhood obesity within a generation through a
comprehensive approach that builds on effective strategies, engages
families and communities, and mobilizes both public and private sector
Nearly one third of children in America are overweight or obese — a
rate that has tripled in adolescents and more than doubled in younger
children since 1980. One third of all individuals born in the year
2000 or later will eventually suffer from diabetes over the course of
their lifetime, while too many others will face chronic obesity-related
health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer,
and asthma. Without effective intervention, many more children will
endure serious illnesses that will put a strain on our health-care
system. We must act now to improve the health of our Nation’s children
and avoid spending billions of dollars treating preventable disease.
Therefore, I have set a goal to solve the problem of childhood
obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach
adulthood at a healthy weight. The First Lady will lead
a national public awareness effort to tackle the epidemic of childhood
obesity. She will encourage involvement by actors from every sector —
the public, nonprofit, and private sectors, as well as parents and
youth — to help support and amplify the work of the Federal Government
in improving the health of our children. But to meet our goal, we must
accelerate implementation of successful strategies that will prevent
and combat obesity. Such strategies include updating child
nutrition policies in a way that addresses the best available
scientific information, ensuring access to healthy, affordable food in
schools and communities, as well as increasing physical activity and
empowering parents and caregivers with the information and tools they
need to make good choices for themselves and their families. To
succeed, these efforts must be strategically targeted, and
accountability should be clear. They will help our children develop
lifelong healthy habits, ensuring they reach their greatest potential
toward building a healthier and more prosperous America. To these
ends, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Establishment of the Task Force on Childhood Obesity.
There is established a Task Force on Childhood Obesity (Task Force) to
develop an interagency action plan to solve the problem of obesity
among our Nation’s children within a generation. The Assistant to the
President for Domestic Policy shall serve as Chair of the Task Force.
(a) Membership of the Task Force. In addition to the
Chair, the Task Force shall consist of the following members, or any
senior official designated by one of the following members who is a
part of the member’s department, agency, or office, and who is a full
time officer or employee of the Federal Government:
(1) the Secretary of the Interior;
(2) the Secretary of Agriculture;
(3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(4) the Secretary of Education;
(5) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
(6) the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady;
(7) the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; and
(8) the heads of other executive departments, agencies, or offices as the Chair may designate.
At the direction of the Chair, the Task Force may establish
subgroups consisting exclusively of Task Force members or their
designees under this section, as appropriate.
(b) Administration of the Task Force. The Department of
Health and Human Services shall provide funding and administrative
support for the Task Force to the extent permitted by law and within
Sec. 2. Mission and Functions of the Task Force.
The Task Force shall work across executive departments and agencies to
develop a coordinated Federal response while also identifying
nongovernmental actions that can be taken to solve the problem of
childhood obesity within a generation. The functions of the Task Force
are advisory only and shall include, but are not limited to, making
recommendations to meet the following objectives:
(a) ensuring access to healthy, affordable food;
(b) increasing physical activity in schools and communities;
(c) providing healthier food in schools; and
(d) empowering parents with information and tools to make good choices for themselves and their families.
Sec. 3. Interagency Action Plan. Within 90
days of the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop and
submit to the President a comprehensive interagency plan that:
(a) details a coordinated strategy by executive departments and
agencies to meet the objectives of the Task Force and identifies areas
for reform to ensure complementary efforts and avoid duplication, both
across the Federal Government and between other public or
(b) includes comprehensive, multi-sectoral strategies from each
member executive department, agency, or office and describes the status
and scope of its efforts to achieve this goal;
(c) identifies key benchmarks and provides for regular measurement,
assessment, and reporting of executive branch efforts to combat
(d) describes a coordinated action plan for identifying relevant
evidence gaps and conducting or facilitating needed research to fill
(e) assists in the assessment and development of legislative,
budgetary, and policy proposals that can improve the health and
well-being of children, their families, and communities; and
(f) describes potential areas of collaboration with other public or
nongovernmental actors, taking into consideration the types of
implementation or research objectives the Federal Government, other
public actors, or nongovernmental actors may be particularly
well-situated to accomplish.
Sec. 4. Outreach. Consistent with the
objectives set out in this memorandum, the Task Force, in accordance
with applicable law, and in addition to regular meetings, shall conduct
outreach with representatives of private and nonprofit organizations,
State, tribal and local authorities, and other interested persons that
can assist with the Task Force’s development of a detailed set of
recommendations to solve the problem of childhood obesity.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) The heads of
executive departments and agencies shall assist and provide information
to the Task Force, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary
to carry out the functions of the Task Force. Each executive
department, agency, and office shall bear its own expense for
participating in the Task Force.
(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or
(c) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(d) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at
law or in equity by any party against the United States, its
departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents,
or any other person.
Sec. 6. Publication. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.