The fight against childhood obesity and its root causes has gotten a lot of attention this past week. Yesterday we featured Jamie Oliver's inspiring TED talk. Today we're looking at First Lady Michelle Obama Let's Move campaign, which was rolled out just one day before Jamie's speech.
Mrs. Obama's plan is an ambitious one, attacking childhood obesity on all fronts: in the home by providing parents with education and tools on healthy choices; at school through lunch, education and athletic programs; and in communities through programs that identify and bring healthy, affordable food to 'food deserts' and under-served communities. You can find the details, and there are a lot of them, on the Let's Move website.
Some people argue that these attempts are futile and that government cannot or should not be involved in personal lifestyle issues like what people eat or how much they exercise. Others disagree, stating that we can no longer stand by while almost 30 percent of US children are obese and at risk for Type-2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease and asthma.
The fight against childhood obesity and reforming our current food system are enormous challenges but Mrs. Obama and Mr. Oliver are not alone. There are many grass-roots organizations that have been working towards changes in our food systems, such as Roots of Change and Time for Lunch from Slow Food USA.
In the end, I believe, the real difference, aided by the efforts of people like Mrs. Obama and Mr. Oliver, will come from you and me. As a cook, I feel these initiatives are a call-to-arms to educate and inspire people in the kitchen. I look forward to finding a way to use my skills and knowledge in my community to teach people how to work with fresh, local ingredients. What will you do?