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Is Our Obesity a National Security Threat?

Is Our Obesity a National Security Threat?

CC courtesy of tobyotter

April 06, 2010

We need programs like Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” to ensure the health—and safety—of future generations.

“Lets Move,” says Michelle Obama in her first nationwide initiative as First Lady, and the country needs to do just that. With two thirds of American adults, and one third of American children overweight or obese, Michelle Obama has taken a bold, public step to address a problem that affects the health, productivity, economy, and dare I say, the security of our nation.

The U.S. obesity problem is complex, but the First Lady is addressing it head on. “This isn’t like putting a man on the moon or inventing the Internet,” she said recently. “It doesn’t take a stroke of genius or a feat of technology. We have everything we need right now to help our kids lead healthy lives.”

The initiative brings together federal agencies, non profits, and businesses for a ground-up redesign of our health landscape. Let’s Move is rethinking school lunches and breakfasts, remaking neighborhoods for walking and playing, providing healthier food options in underserved neighborhoods, and encouraging doctors to regularly check Body Mass Indices (BMIs) for early detection of obesity risk.

Just recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that one in five U.S. teens has unhealthy cholesterol levels. The rate jumps to 41 percent for obese children. In children, abnormal cholesterol levels—defined as low HDL (good cholesterol), high LDL (bad cholesterol), or high levels of triglycerides—could lead to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and a host of other illnesses. Chronic diseases, such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes, account for 75 percent of health care spending today, so fighting obesity is a key to disease prevention.

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