U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack was at the White House today for the launch of a “Let’s Move” initiative that aims to break the cycle of childhood obesity.
First Lady Michelle Obama has set reducing childhood obesity and promoting healthy eating as two of her priorities.
“She passionately spoke from first-hand experience as the mother of two wonderful children and the challenges that she faced as her children were growing up,” Vilsack says. “I certainly understand that passion having been one of those youngsters she talked about today who was overweight, teased at school. This is a very important initiative for us, for this country.”
Vilsack, when he was Iowa’s governor, sometimes discussed his own, life-long struggle with weight. Vilsack has said his mother posted pictures of overweight kids on the family refrigerator in hopes to discouraging him from overeating. Now, as agriculture secretary, Vilsack says promoting healthy eating can benefit American farmers by creating new markets for fresh fruits and vegetables.
“It’s important to emphasize the note that this is not just a government-led effort,” Vilsack says. “This is really about partnerships and the USDA is proud to have a partnership with the NFL and the Dairy Council in connection with its effort to ‘Fuel up to Play 60’ — recognizing the importance of 60 minutes of active engagement by youngsters, physical activity and getting appropriate meals.”
President Obama signed a “presidential memorandum” this morning in the Oval Office, creating a Task Force on Childhood Obesity. According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one out of every three American children are overweight or obese.
President Obama signs executive order at Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, First Lady Michelle Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius look on.