lady has new warning on obesity

By: Mike Allen
December 13, 2010
08:52 AM EST

First Lady Michelle Obama plans to warn in remarks Monday that the nation is
seeing “a groundswell of support” for curbing childhood obesity, and she is
unveiling new ammunition from current and retired military leaders.

“[M]ilitary leaders … tell us that when more than one in four young
people are unqualified for military service because of their weight,” the first
lady says in prepared remarks, “childhood obesity isn’t just a public health
threat, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as

The first lady and President Barack Obama are making a rare joint
speaking appearance on Monday, at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Northwest
D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood, as he signs into law the Healthy,
Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

From Mrs. Obama’s prepared remarks:

“We can all agree that here in the wealthiest nation on earth, all
children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and pursue
their dreams. Because in the end, nothing is more important than the health and
well-being of our children…and our hopes for their future should drive every
decision we make. These are the basic values that we all share. They’re the
values that this bill embodies. And that’s why we’ve seen such a groundswell of
support for these efforts – not just from Members of Congress here in
Washington, but from folks in every corner of the country.

educators working to provide healthier school meals, because they know the
connection between proper nutrition and academic performance. From doctors and
nurses who know that unhealthy kids grow into unhealthy adults – at risk for
obesity-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. From business
and labor leaders who know that we spend nearly $150 billion a year to treat
these diseases and worry about the impact on our economy. From advocates and
faith leaders who know that school meals are vital for combating child hunger,
feeding more than 31 million children a day.


“And from military leaders who tell us that when more than one in four young
people are unqualified for military service because of their weight, childhood
obesity isn’t just a public health threat…it’s not just an economic threat…it’s
a national security threat as well. These folks come at this issue from all
different angles. But they’ve come together to support this bill, because they
know that it’s the right thing to do for our kids. And they know that in the
long run, it won’t just save money, it will save LIVES.”

Among the
statements of support for the legislation gathered by the administration:

–Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, American Heart Association:
“With the implementation of this law, our nation’s kids will be less likely to
grow up with early risk factors for heart disease and stroke.”

Secretary Sebelius: “By increasing the number of students eligible to enroll in
school meal programs and improving the quality of food served, this legislation
simultaneously tackles both hunger and the obesity levels.”

Frist, heart surgeon, and former Senate Majority Leader: “I join President Obama
and the First Lady in celebrating the signing of … [t]his bipartisan legislation
… As a physician, I know smart nutrition leads to healthy and productive lives.”

–Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark, N.J.: “On behalf of Mission: Readiness
and over 100 retired generals and admirals who support child nutrition
legislation as a matter of national security, we are very pleased that the
nation has taken this important step in addressing the nation’s obesity
epidemic. Being overweight or obese is the No. 1 medical reason why young men
and women are unable to join the military.”

–Mike Huckabee, Arkansas
governor, 1996-2007: “Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in a single
generation – as First Lady Michelle Obama has called upon our nation to do –
won’t be easy. … The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act makes great strides toward
eliminating this threat to our children’s health.”