US President Barack Obama has declared September as the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month as part of his administration's efforts to address the challenge of a "dramatic rise" in obesity among American children.
"Since the 1970s, the rate of childhood obesity in our country has tripled, and today a third of American children are overweight or obese.
This dramatic rise threatens to have far-reaching, long-term effects on our children's health, livelihoods, and futures," Obama said in his proclamation in this regard. "Without major changes, a third of children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes during their lifetimes, and many others will face obesity-related problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma," he said.
As a nation, Obama said, the greatest responsibility is to ensure the well-being of American children. "By taking action to address the issue of childhood obesity, we can help America's next generation reach their full potential." Taking the lead, First Lady Michelle Obama has also launched a series of steps to fight increasing obesity among children and promote healthy food.
"Together, we can stop this epidemic in its tracks. Over the last year and a half, the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative has brought together Federal agencies and some of the biggest corporations and nonprofits from across our country, working to meet our national goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. "Let's Move! aims to help ensure we can make healthy choices about the foods we eat and how much exercise we get, while building the habits necessary to tackle one of the most urgent health issues we face in this country," Obama said.
The US President said everyone has a role to play in preventing and reversing the tide of childhood obesity. "This year, we announced groundbreaking partnerships with grocery stores and other retailers to increase access to healthy food in under-served areas." The stores have pledged to increase their fruit and vegetable offerings and to open new locations in communities where nutritious food is limited or unavailable, he said.