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President of American Academy of Pediatrics Joins First Lady Michelle Obama in Commitment to Reduce Childhood Obesity

2/9/2010

Washington, DC—Judith S. Palfrey, MD, FAAP, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), joined First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama at an event today to unveil the White House’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to address childhood obesity.

The AAP, which represents 60,000 pediatricians, is committed to eliminating the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States, and commends First Lady Michelle Obama for drawing national attention to this staggering health burden on our nation’s youth. The four pillars of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign—expanding efforts to make schools healthy environments for all children, increasing children’s physical activity, improving the affordability and accessibility of foods, and empowering consumers to make healthier choices— support proven early interventions that the AAP recommends to help keep children healthy.

“We face a medical and moral imperative to rescue our children’s health,” Dr. Palfrey said during today’s event.

“Over the past twenty years, our nation has seen an alarming rise in the number of our children who are overweight and obese. It will take a concerted effort and thoughtful collaboration to help create healthier communities for children.”

The AAP believes that the life success of every child should be the nation’s highest priority, and as such, is proud to announce today a new commitment in partnership with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. First, the AAP will call on every pediatrician to calculate body mass index, or BMI, for every child over the age of two at every well-child visit. The AAP is also making available to all of its members official “prescriptions” for healthy, active living—including good nutrition and physical activity—to give out at every well-child visit.

Additional ongoing interventions recommended by the AAP to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity include: encouraging mothers to breastfeed, childcare providers and schools to serve healthy foods, and families to eat nutritious, well-balanced meals together. Along with good nutrition, the AAP recommends that every child has opportunities to be active for at least 60 minutes every day, and that parents limit the time children spend in front of the television.

“This is a long-term commitment to our children’s health, and we cannot expect a solution overnight,” Dr. Palfrey said. “But we must take on this challenge. The health of our children—and the future of this country—is in our hands. Together, we can reverse the numbers and improve the health of our children.”

For information on the AAP’s commitments to the “Let’s Move!” initiative and additional resources for pediatricians and families, visit: http://aap.org/obesity/whitehouse/index.html

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.