First Lady Michelle Obama put a spotlight on the importance of good nutrition and children's health today during a speech at the Department of Health and Human Services, continuing her campaign for healthy eating habits to fight rising obesity rates.
"Nearly a third of all children in this country are overweight or obese… and a third will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetimes," Obama said. "It is a major public health threat right now, so just imagine what we're going to be facing in 20 or 30 years if we don't get on this issue."
The first lady addressed practical problems surrounding good nutrition, such as long work hours, dirty or unsafe neighborhood playgrounds, a lack of healthy food options and cheap, unhealthy take-out food. She said that she struggled with these day-to-day issues herself as a parent before receiving a wake-up call from her daughters' pediatrician.
"I remember coming home from a meeting or an event, tired- just tired... Going home to an empty refrigerator and kids who were hungry. And fussy… And all they want is some pizza and some burgers… I can relate," she said.
Obama acknowledged the necessity for safe facilities and accessible, nutritious foods, and called for parents to make better choices. She warned of the dangers facing future generations if childhood obesity rates continue to increase.
"What does it meant that medical experts are now warning that for the first time in the history of our nation, the next generation may be on track to having a shorter lifespan than this generation, and their parents?" Obama asked the crowd. "None of us wants a future like that for our children."