White House launches fight against childhood obesity

Michelle ObamaThe White House officially launched its fight against childhood obesity Tuesday, with first lady Michelle Obama appearing in a televised interview announcing it and then standing by her husband as he signed a memo ordering federal agencies to work together on the project.

“I love burgers and fries, and I love ice cream and cake, and so do most kids,” the first lady told Robin Roberts on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” “We’re not talking about a lifestyle that excludes all that.”

She then joined President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, where he ordered the creation of a task force to fight what he called “one of the most urgent health issues that we face in this country.”

The memo calls for several federal agencies to work together to fight obesity to complement the first lady’s national public awareness campaign.

The first lady stood behind the president as he signed, then patted him on the back and said, “Nice job.”

With an estimated one-third of American children suffering from obesity, Cabinet agencies are taking part in a project to promote better nutrition. Several Cabinet members joined the president at the signing of the order Tuesday: Education’s Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services’ Kathleen Sebelius, Agriculture’s Tom Vilsack and Interior’s Ken Salazar.

In her morning interview, the first lady said she just hopes to promote healthier habits in her campaign.

“The question is how do we help people balance that out so that they’re not facing life-threatening preventable illnesses so they’re enjoying their food, they’re eating their vegetables, they’re doing their running and walking and playing but still have time to get a good fun meal in once in a while,” she said.

(c) 2010, Tribune Co. Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.