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    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.

    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

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" -6.75, -6.26

    by gravlax on Fri May 14, 2010 at 05:57:31 PM PDT

    •  Well, if the powers that be here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa, gravlax

      in Cleveland would stop putting obstacles in the way of Kossack Timroff's excellent Greenhouse Project, we could be tackling this on a very practical level, making fresh produce accessible while educating people in inner-city food desserts about nutrition and gardening. Luckily, Timroff is good at plowing through obstacles!

  •  Answer: yes. Best chance in 50 years. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wordsinthewind, gravlax

    "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

    by the fan man on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:00:06 PM PDT

  •  #1: Increasing physical activity (5+ / 0-)

    I would place "Increasing physical activity" #1, instead of #5.

    Unfortunately, too many kids stay home all day playing video games or chatting on Facebook.

    And these same kids will have to try to compete for top jobs with children whose parents insisted that they spend some time every day playing outside.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

    by PatriciaVa on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:05:47 PM PDT

    •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wordsinthewind

      we all know that there are only two ways to lose weight: eat less and move more

      "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" -6.75, -6.26

      by gravlax on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:08:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      debedb, gravlax

      Physical activity is overrated for weight control.  It is so much easier to overeat 500 calories than it is to burn it off with activity.  

      Healthy portion controlled meals is the way to control weight.  

      Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

      by Jonze on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:12:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More vegetables! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jonze, gravlax

        Urban gardening is exploding here which is a good sign.

      •  Obesity isn't just a matter of how much you weigh (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PatriciaVa, gravlax

        It's a matter of how fat you are, and that's not the same thing.   2 people can be the exact height and weight and one can be obese and the other isn't.  I work out 6 days a week and include weight training and aerobic activity.  In the past year people have asked me how much weight I've lost.  In reality I have actually gained a couple of pounds.  Muscle weighs more than fat, and burns more calories even while at rest.

        I understand what you are saying, and diet certainly is important, but I think the lack of physical exercise in young people is a serious problem.  40 years ago children played by riding their bikes or playing sports, or tag.  Today many sit and play video games.  The body is meant to move.

        explain how letting gays marry will directly affect your own heterosexual relationship?

        by bluestatesam on Sat May 15, 2010 at 02:01:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I ate like shit as a kid, despite my mothers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PatriciaVa, gravlax

        best efforts, but I was always on the move. So were all the kids on our block. No obese children. (Soft drinks were not on the menu by the way, we drank whole milk, lots of it.)

        "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

        by the fan man on Sat May 15, 2010 at 06:13:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is extremely discouraging (6+ / 0-)
    Normally I would think that would be extremely modest, and could be ramped up to 2010. But if they're not going to end farm subsidies, then forget it. All those other efforts are banging their heads against the wall. I do not agree with subsidizing healthy foods. Just remove the subsidies and let it equalize. Otherwise it's a big game.

    All those recommendations are so vague and so optimistic. Educate parents. Empower parents. How? To me that's bullshit. Voluntary restriction on marketing. Sure. Encourage. Evaluate. Promote. Sure.

    It's all so timid. What a disappointment.

  •  If we can answer: "You want to starve our kids!" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, m00finsan, gravlax

    If we can successfully rebut the predictable Republican paranoia about mandatory veganism, starvation rations, and exercising our way to a superhuman criminal army of black youth, then yes, solving actual obesity will be a snap.

    •  I thought about that too, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Visceral, m00finsan

      there are a lot of political and propaganda issues to get around.  Too bad the report didn't address any of that

      "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" -6.75, -6.26

      by gravlax on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:18:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Put a teabagger in the room with the scientists (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gooserock, crose, gravlax

        along with a crack PR team.

        Have the teabagger spout off about "the forced asceticism of white guilt from liberals who hate God's gift of food for America" and other such nonsense while straitjacketed to a dolly like Hannibal Lecter.

        The scientists can provide the real facts that demolish the teabagger's claims, while the PR team condenses them into simple easily-digested talking points until the teabagger is convinced. Then they can start the campaign confident that it'll actually appeal to the people who have the most to gain from it.

        •  There Is No Fact That Can Stand Against the Lord (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          crose, Visceral, gravlax

          or Ayn Rand.

          Sorry but you'll be in that room till you're old enough for Chicago School retirement age.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:38:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Translation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crose, gravlax

      When the GOP says "you want to starve our kids!" they really mean "You want our kids to eat less crappy processed foods and eat less profitable real food!"

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Fri May 14, 2010 at 08:46:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I was growing up in the 70s (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax

    about one kid in 20--maybe one in 10--had what you'd call a serious weight problem--bulging tummy, bulging rear end, fleshy cheeks. Now, it's more like 1:3, 1:4. Not good. Not good, at all. I'm glad this problem is getting some serious attention.

  •  Get rid of high fructose corn syrup (11+ / 0-)

    in every damn thing we eat, sweet or not, and hormones in factory farmed meat, and we wouldn't have half the problems with overweight people that we do now.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:25:31 PM PDT

  •  #6: Hohos on strings affixed to a dowel rod (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, gravlax

    taped to the back of the childs head.

    In all seriousness I think this is a great idea and good diary tipped.

    I was the "fat kid" in my class and I look back at my pictures and today I would be juuuust mildly overweight it's a natioanl targety.

  •  Scenes Like Today's Neighborhoods--Empty of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, gravlax

    children outside playing-- are featured in several Twilight Zone episodes to illustrate some kind of horrific future, alien abduction or whatever.

    That's the signpost back behind you.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:39:35 PM PDT

  •  Yes, if we try. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax

    Not much to report here

    by on the cusp on Fri May 14, 2010 at 06:41:30 PM PDT

  •  First of all is that Scandianavian specialty (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, Carol in San Antonio, gravlax

    Gravlax part of the solution?  The all Gravlax no carb diet could do the trick.

    A real issue here is pricing.  We have subsidized oils and grains for generations and these products are too cheap.  So just at a time when most Americans are sedentary they have access to twice to three times the daily caloric intake they require.  when things are too cheap - because the government makes them too cheap - there is a lot of money left over for advertising and for trying to deal with the over production.  They are too cheap because of subsidies.

    This self inflicted sickening spectacle of overwieght people and overweight pets is self created.  

  •  No, I don't think we can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, gravlax

    but we can make a serious dent and it's better to have an ambitions goal than a half-hearted one.

    Overeating in America is as bad as it is right now because its about a lot more than food.

    The reason I don't think we can solve the problem of childhood obesity is that America is a nation that is addicted to pain avoidance, and we have corporations and politicians who benefit greatly by telling people exactly what they want to hear. Movement Conservatism is all about feeding the beast by making people think that downing a box of Twinkies is an act of defiance against fascism and government oppression.

    Obesity is just another front in that war.

    I'll bet that there is a counter-campaign that claims that overeating is freedom as soon as this gets off the ground.

    The Movement Conservative wing of the GOP has thrived over the last forty years because there are a lot of people who want only want to hear what they want to hear and nothing else.

    There are so many ways that people are encouraged to surrender to the easy way out as you go from infancy to adulthood it's terrifying.

    Millions of people are sedentary because it feels better to watch tv and eat too much than to work out and mind every bite you eat. Culturally a vast swath of the population is also using over-indulging with food as a form of self-medication and escape.

    We also send a huge mixed message to ourselves in that we subsidize the worst crap we shovel into our collective faces, and we sell food by selling the reward concept of food more often than any PSA campaign can counter.

    I don't know what the answer is, but as long as people have the option of just tuning out things they don't want to hear, and there are forces encouraging that for their own empowerment, you are the underdog.

     

  •  yeah, yeah, if you outlaw McDonalds and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax

    all fast food chains and outlaw potato chips, fries and soft drinks, you can get rid of childhood obesity within a couple of years.

    thanks for listening

    "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so." --Mark Twain

    by mimi on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:11:49 PM PDT

    •  Or you could just not go (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      debedb, gravlax

      to McDonalds or eat potato chips. I actually don't do either. I don't consider what McDonalds serves "food," and I cut out junk food decades ago when I was in grad school and on a serious budget. I figured I'd save money by eliminating inessential foods like munchies and soft drinks and meat. So I did. (Sorry, chocolate IS essential!)

      •  if we could just not do it, why do we still ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gravlax

        we also just could not drive cars, not smoke, not eat cake, not drink, not text on cellphones, not read blogs all day long, not watch TV, not ... we all could just not do all that, but we do, don't we?

        nah, nah, must be "verboten", or else ... :-)

        "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so." --Mark Twain

        by mimi on Fri May 14, 2010 at 08:46:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Exercise is overated. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax

    It's much easier to over-eat 500 calories than it is to burn it off with activity.  Healthy portion controlled meals is the key.

    Also parents need to be good role models for their kids, as kids pick up their parents eating habits. If you see a fat kid, chances are very high that his parents are overweight themselves.  

    Both parents working means both get home around 6pm of their lucky and both will be tired as hell and not want to put a healthy dinner together. It's so much easier to stop off and pick up a take-away for the family dinner.

    Same with breakfasts and lunches.  Tooth decaying cereal and a five spot for a school lunch is just so much easier.  

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:17:43 PM PDT

  •  we can easily end childhood obesity. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, gravlax

    we just need to reject ancel keys' false gospel of low-fat, high-carb.  it only took a generation to create the obesity epidemic.  it shouldn't take nearly so long to go back to lard and fresh vegetables and traditionally prepared grains/legumes and pastured meat, eggs and dairy.  

    http://www.hkbu.edu.hk/~ppp/bth/toc.html

    by shoeboy on Fri May 14, 2010 at 07:37:08 PM PDT

    •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gravlax

      but it will take a lot longer to turn back the clock on the American socio-economic scheme. Big Food and Big Ag are so intwined and dependent on the subsidies they will never be seperate in a generation. There is so much less prime farmland now because of the way we produce food and the way we sell that land for subdivisions. Our population will need to fall quickly in this proposed generation to allow for much real change.

  •  I don't think the time frame is realistic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, gravlax

    but I do think it can be done--That said I really believe there's a helluva lot of work to do with parenting attitudes more than anything else.

    Beginning an early childhood nutrition program is an excellent idea. But don't stop there--Nutrition and food preparation needs to be to taught young adults at the high school level.

    Full disclosure--I'm a Home Ec. teacher, I'm retired now, but I still feel strongly about reaching kids when they're beginning to make choices about their futures. I don't think it's necessary to go back to the old days of Home Ec, in fact I think that would counter productive. But the current trend of teaching young adults life skills is a big step in the right direction.

    If high school kids learn how to prepare good nutritious food, learn how to make good food choices--on budget and how to plan for family meals and grocery buying, I think it will be a huge step toward better informed parents.

    I do understand the pressures on today's families, it's not easy to find time or energy to cook, but it can be done.

    And I agree with the poster who said get rid of the corn syrup products!!!!!

    Old fashion made with white sugar Kool-Aide beats the heck out of sugar sodas and fruity drinks in pouches. (Yes I know white sugar is horrible, but if you gotta do it, opt for that option and leave the corn syrup alone altogether.!)

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion...Molly Ivins

    by left over flower child on Fri May 14, 2010 at 08:25:15 PM PDT

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