First lady celebrates ‘healthier’ new normal — but ‘severe obesity’ is on the rise among youth

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As health experts sound the alarm about an increase in “severe obesity” among children and teens, first lady Michelle Obama is celebrating the fourth anniversary of her anti-childhood obesity initiative.

Obama launched “Let’s Move” on February 9, 2010, encouraging the nation’s children to get up, move around and be healthy. According to a White House announcement Thursday, the country is now “moving toward a healthier future and this movement is becoming the new norm all across the country.”

To celebrate the first lady’s “new norm,” she will be making a half dozen appearances along the east coast touting “Let’s Move,” including interviews with Jimmy Fallon, Mario Lopez and Rachael Ray.

According to the White House, the first lady’s initiative is responsible, at least in part, for moving America toward that “healthier future.”

“Thanks in part to these efforts, our nation is moving towards a new, healthier norm,” the White House said in a its announcement. “More Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food closer to home, school health environments are changing, healthier foods are being marketed to kids, and making healthy choices is becoming easier for families.”

In the announcement, the White House highlighted a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that found last year that obesity rates in 19 states among low-income pre-schoolers declined from 2008 to 2011, and in 20 other states the obesity rate remained the same.

Unmentioned in the White House’s announcement, however, is that late last year the American Heart Associate began raising concerns about rising level of “severe obesity,” affecting about 5 percent of the nation’s teens and children.

Still, the White House and Obama are claiming some credit for what they argue is a spike in the nation’s well-being. In addition to her media tour, Obama is calling on people to participate in her celebration by “encouraging people of all ages, to show her how they move – through their everyday fitness routine, making better food choices, or by moving their community toward that new norm – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc. using #LetsMove.”

“I know that so many people across this country are moving themselves and their communities towards a healthier, new norm,” Obama says in a new Let’s Move promotional video released Thursday. “So right now I want you to get up and show me how you move!”


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