RODALE NEWS, WASHINGTON, DC—First Lady Michelle Obama has her work cut out for her tomorrow, when she'll announce the details of her initiative to reduce childhood obesity—an effort that has confounded experts for two decades. She wants to improve school lunch programs; increase physical activity; increase accessibility and affordability of food in rural areas and inner cities; and help people make healthy choices. The stakes are high because, as everyone is so often reminded, the current epidemic of childhood obesity means that, for the first time, today's generation may not live as long as its parents.
THE DETAILS: Those who have tried and failed to reverse the obesity curve are rooting for her and think if anyone can do it, the First Lady has the best chance. “A person like Michelle Obama may not be able to singlehandedly, dramatically influence eating habits of children,” says David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital Boston and associate professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Harvard University. “What she can do is bring critically needed attention to political obstacles, and create momentum for change.”
Read on to find out what the childhood-obesity initiative will be up against.