For Immediate Release

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Phone: 202-332-9110

Childhood Obesity Initiative Announced by First Lady Michelle Obama

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan

WASHINGTON - For far too long, the nation's response to childhood obesity has
been underwhelming, considering obesity’s massive impact on the
nation's physical and fiscal health. The First Lady has the clout and
visibility to change that and mobilize the nation's resources to address the problem.

Helping
to support parents’ efforts to feed their children well and get them
engaged in physical activity will require not only working
cooperatively with food and entertainment companies, but also calling
on them to do better for our children. Beverage companies have taken
some notable steps to get sugary sodas out of schools, but Mrs. Obama
should call on beverage and food companies to support Senators Tom
Harkin and Lisa Murkowski and Representative Lynn Woolsey in their
bipartisan effort to update the disco-era national standards for school
vending machines and get junk food and all sugary beverages out of
schools once and for all. Entertainment conglomerates like Nickelodeon
and Disney are limiting the use of their characters on junk foods and
running PSAs, but should be pressed to remove junk-food advertising
from their television channels and other media.

This year, Congress must reauthorize the school lunch and other child nutrition programs--a
key opportunity to improve the diets and health of millions of American
children. The First Lady can help by working with Congress to fund the
full $1 billion per year recommended in the President's budget and
urging them to move the bill quickly, so new reforms can be in place
for the next school year.

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