Michelle Obama Taps Chicago Businesses for Obesity Support

Let's move seeks to change Americas food culture

By Andrew Greiner
|  Tuesday, Feb 9, 2010  |  Updated 12:00 PM CDT
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Michelle Obama is trying to end childhood obesity.

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Michelle Obama is getting plenty of home-state support for her “Let’s Move” anti-childhood obesity campaign.

The first lady officially launched the program during a midday conference with six Cabinet members, and the backing of 40 executives from major food production companies, with at least two of the food heavyweights coming from Illinois.

"Too many of our children are seriously overweight, and our companies stand ready to work with you to address this health crisis," the 40 execs stated in an open letter. Among the signers was Irene Rosenfeld, the CEO of Kraft Foods, based in Northfield, and Brenda C. Barnes, the CEO of the Sara Lee Corp., based in Downers Grove two of the larges food companies in the world, the Chicago Tribune reports.

They note " we have changed the way we develop and market more than 10,000 products, reducing fat, trans fat, sugar, salt and calories without sacrificing the convenience and taste consumers demand."

That's kind of culture change is what the first lady seeks. 

Obama said the “Let's Move” campaign will encourage more physical activity for children, healthier food in schools and more accurate food labeling. Some of her initiatives, such as tax breaks for grocery stores to move into poorly served communities, will require congressional action.

"I would move heaven and earth to give my kids all the chance in the world for them to be at the top of their game in every way, shape and form," Obama said. "Let's Move operates under the principle that every family wants the same thing for their kid. So we're going to figure out how to make it easier for them to get it."

President Barack Obama praised the first lady for tackling what he called one of "the most urgent health issues facing the country."

"This has enormous promise in improving the health of our children, in giving support to parents to make the kinds of healthy choices that are often very difficult," Obama said Tuesday, before signing a memorandum establishing a childhood obesity task force.

 
 

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