Former President Bill Clinton, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Announce Childhood Obesity Campaign
Former President Bill Clinton and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Tuesday announced an initiative seeking to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within a decade, the New York Times reports. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association (Altman, New York Times, 5/4).
Clinton and Huckabee said they were motivated to focus on childhood obesity because of their personal experiences. Clinton underwent heart bypass surgery in September, and Huckabee recently lost 110 pounds after being diagnoses with type 2 diabetes. Though details of the initiative and a cost estimate were not provided, Clinton and Huckabee said they would work with schools, communities, the restaurant and food industry and the media to develop programs and policies that encourage healthier eating habits and more exercise (Matthews, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 5/4).
The alliance also will seek to encourage the restaurant and food industry to reduce portion sizes and provide healthier foods, help health care professionals develop programs that focus on prevention and treatment of obesity and encourage schools to serve healthier meals and increase the physical activity of students. The program will be targeted to children ages nine to 13 (New York Times, 5/4).
Clinton said the program aims to stabilize the percentage of overweight children by 2010 and reduce the percentage by 2015 (Kelly, New York Post, 5/4). "The truth is that children born today could become part of the first generation on American history to live shorter lives than their parents because so many are eating too much of the wrong things and not exercising enough," Clinton said (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 5/3).
Pedro Velasquez-Mieyer, co-founder of the Pediatric Lifestyle Clinic at Memphis' Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, said, "Both ... President Clinton and the [AHA] are very well recognized. ... I feel like this is something that could actually impact and make a difference" (Biggs, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 5/4).
CBS' "Evening News" on Tuesday included an interview with Clinton about the initiative (Alfonsi, "CBS Evening News," CBS, 5/3). A partial transcript of the interview is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.