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Please begin with an informative title:

    The White House Task Force on Child Obesity released a report titled Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within A Generation .  it detailed 70 initiatives that they say can be implemented in one year.  Both desmoinesdem of  La Vida Locaovre and Marion Nestle of Food Politics have commented on this report.  I highly recommend reading both pieces.  I will attempt to summarize the report here.

     The goal of the committee:

That means returning to a childhood obesity rate of just 5% by 2030. Achieving this goal will require “bending the curve” fairly quickly, so that by 2015, there will be a 2.5% reduction in each of the current rates of overweight and obese children, and by 2020, a 5% reduction.
    As Nestle says, this seems to be a fairly modest and reasonable proposal.  The current rate of childhood obesity is 20%.  In other words, the committee targets a rate of 17.5% by 2015, 15% by 2020, and finally 5% by 2030.
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    Melody Barnes, Chair of the committee, released a letter introducing the report.

Fortunately, there are clear, concrete steps we can take as a society to help our children reach adult-hood at a healthy weight   As you requested in the Memorandum you signed on February 9, our new interagency Task Force on Childhood Obesity has spent the past 90 days carefully reviewing the research, and consulting experts as well as the broader public, to produce a set of recommended actions that, taken together, will put our country on track to solving the problem of childhood obesity
 

     The report focuses on five areas:
                 1)     Recommendations for early childhood    
                 2)     Empowering parents and caregivers      
                 3)     Healthier food in schools                      
                 4)     Improving access to healthy foods        
                 5)     Increasing kid's physical activity            

     What the committee does not do is recommend an end to federal farm subsidies or a federal tax on sugar.  It does, however, suggest the possibility of subsidizing healthy foods.  This alone would be a huge step towards solving both the obesity problem and the problem of low access to healthy food in the so-called food deserts of inner cities.

     The report does a very good job providing recommendations and benchmarks.  Unfortunately that is all they are, recommendations.  There is a lot of "education" and the baby formula and health insurance industries are sure to put up a fight in having many of these recommendations put into place.  We are a long way from solving the problem but this report could be an important first step if it lays the groundwork for a way forward.

                          Some recommendations:

Early childhood:
     educating women about the importance of healthy pregnancy weight and breastfeeding

     educate and support parents about reducing media time

     promoting research into chemicals in the environment that may affect birth weight

Empowering parents and caregivers:

     development of standard nutrition labels

     display of calorie counts on all vending machine items

     voluntary restriction of marketing to children

Healthier food in schools:

     updating federal standards

     increased funding

     encouraging investment in school cafeterias

     improved nutritional education

     increased use of school gardens

     promoting healthy behaviors in juvenile prisons

Improving access to healthy foods

     launching a multi-agency "Healthy Food Financing Initiative”

     encourage local governments to promote grocery stores in underserved areas

     evaluate the effect of targeted subsidies through nutritional assistance programs

Increasing physical activity

     promote better physical education

     building new schools with better pedestrian and bicycle access

     increase safe playgrounds and parks, especially in low-income communities

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Salted and Cured on Fri May 14, 2010 at 05:57 PM PDT.

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