Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aug. 20: Start Fight Against Obesity At the Beginning

By Sylvia Gurinsky

While the average life expectancy in the United States is still increasing, so are the number of people who are severely overweight.

The fight against obesity has to restart where it's been slowed down - the schools.

Budget crises have compelled public schools to do two things harmful to children's health: Pull the plug on physical education classes, particularly in middle and high schools, and sign deals with vendors to sell high-fat snacks and high-sugar sodas in lunchrooms.

Both must be reversed. Former President Bill Clinton got the process off to a good start in 2006 with a deal to get snack makers to put healthier choices into vending machines. But it's the responsibility of school districts to do the rest. So far, they haven't. Until the general budget picture improves, they probably won't.

A child with a healthy lifestyle has a better chance of being an adult with a healthy lifestyle. Clinton, who met earlier this week with President Barack Obama about international matters, should also discuss this national matter with Obama.

For U.S. life expectancy to continue to go up, obesity numbers have to start going down.


I'll be on a weeklong break with the blog. See you August 31.

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