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Addressing Childhood Obesity: "We Are Going to Need All of You"

Industry leaders and experts gather to brainstorm ways to battle childhood obesity.

The White House held a Child Obesity Summit this afternoon, attended by food experts, industry leaders, and people from different communities to share and discuss ideas on how to create a healthier environment to combat childhood obesity.

The First Lady, who launched her Let’s Move campaign to address the growing epidemic, gave the opening remarks at the summit, saying that “we all need to do our parts as well, because the fact is, is that our kids didn’t do this to themselves.” At the summit, the First Lady discussed the goals of her childhood obesity initiative and the significance of getting everyone's input to create a nationwide response to the problem:

We’re working with the private sector to reach a very ambitious goal, and that is to completely eliminate food deserts in this country.

And finally, there is much, much more that we can do to help kids stay physically active, not just in school but outside of school as well.

And if we can make real progress in these four areas, then there’s so much more else we can do.  But these four areas, as a country, we can reach our ultimate goal, and the ultimate goal for “Let’s Move” is to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation so that children born today grow up at a healthy weight with better notions of what is healthy, with better habits, who are incorporating exercise into their lives on a more regular basis, so there are more kids like the ones that Melody described, who know what it even means to eat healthy.  That's our goal.

And to achieve this goal, we are going to need all of you.  We’re going to need all of you -- your insight, your experience, your guidance.  And that’s why we are so excited about this gathering here today, because you all know this issue better than just about anyone.  So many of you have dedicated your lives to fighting this battle, and many of you have just -- are just thankful that there’s someone else shining the spotlight on what you have known for a long, long time.

This -- folks in this room, all of you working together, can do more than just about anyone to help us tackle this issue.  What we have done is started a national conversation.  We’ve started an important national conversation.  But we need your help to propel that conversation into a national response.


The First Lady at the Childhood Obesity Summit

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the Childhood Obesity Summit in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building April 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Drew Angerer)

The forum’s overall goal was to brainstorm ways to provide healthier choices for children in schools and access to healthy, affordable foods in local communities. The separate sessions focused on ways to empower parents and caregivers, serve healthier food in schools, provide access to healthier foods, and increase opportunities for physical activities. Many ideas were shared, including suggestions to change children's ways of thinking, begin urban gardening, and provide incentives for people to purchase fruits and vegetables.

To learn more about childhood obesity and how the Administration is working to raise a healthier generation of kids, visit