Restaurants need to offer healthier choices on children’s menus. The food and beverage industry should market nutritious foods, not junk foods, to kids.
And families should eat dinner together as often as possible.Schools need to make sure elementary students get recess, and the federal government needs to improve the nutritional quality of food commodities provided to schools.
These are among a federal task force’s wide-ranging recommendations to reverse the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. It was released Tuesday by first lady Michelle Obama.
“For the first time, the nation will have goals, benchmarks and measureable outcomes that will help us tackle the childhood obesity epidemic one child, one family and one community at a time,” she said.
The goal of the plan is to try to solve the childhood obesity problem in a generation, the report says. That means returning to a childhood obesity rate of 5% by 2030. Right now, about 32% of children and adolescents today — 25 million — are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those extra pounds put kids at a greater risk of developing a host of debilitating and costly diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And kids today may lead shorter lives by two to five years than their parents because of obesity, a 2005 study found.