Let's put aside any political differences for a moment and focus on one thing that we all know is a problem.
Recently, the First Lady announced that she will spearhead an initiative to tackle a growing epidemic - childhood obesity. I've talked about the fact that children are getting less exercise during school and we've heard statistics that kids are spending more time with digital media than ever before. In combination with the fact that junk food is easier to access now than at any other time in history, and we have a problem on our hands. Even those of us without kids have a vested interest in this because it will still effect us in indirect ways. Many of these children are going to end up with Type 2 Diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure and other medical issues. Socially, overweight children are also more likely to be ridiculed and feel left out, which may lead to self esteem issues. There are so many reasons why we, as a country, need to tackle this problem.
So, here's Michelle's plan: the fed will work with local officials as well as businesses and non-profit organizations to put phys ed and healthy meals back in schools, increase opportunities for children to be active, provide better information throughout communities about exercise, and provide more access to healthy & affordable foods. Though details won't be released until sometime in February, it sounds like multiple federal agencies will be involved (which could prove to be disasterous, but hopefully adventageous).
Nearly one third of all US children are overweight or obese. The US spends approximately $150 billion each year fighting obesity, while obese adults spend almost $1500 more per year on medical related expenses than those of a normal and healthy weight. A study was just recently done which found that most parents don't even realize when they're children are overweight.
From what I've heard so far, I really like that this plan will not just reach kids in schools, but it will also reach parents and other members of the community through a higher focus on fitness and health in general. Hopefully we'll see even more farmers markets popping up around the country. Perhaps more cities and towns will host 5K run/walks or more opportunities to run half marathons will start showing up. Maybe some of the reported $650million in funds will be given to counties to create more running/walking paths, Rails To Trails could convert more abandoned train tracks into trails connecting communities. More cities may follow in the footsteps of Oklahoma City. So many great things could come from this. It's quite encouraging and since there has been increasing chatter around the country about the problem, I have faith that we will see some changes soon!
Questions: What do you think of all this? How would you like to see the funds used? Where would you like to see the efforts focused?