SEPTEMBER 30, 2011
Another U.S. government agency has joined the child obesity crusade, this time dedicating $25 million to tackle the epidemic in “hard–to–reach, limited English proficiency and minority communities.”This latest allocation of taxpayer dollars to this particular cause will help meet key goals set by Michelle Obama’s White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity. Last year the First Lady got her husband to sign a $4.5 billion measure (The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act) that promises to revolutionize the inner-city diet by providing fresh produce and grilled lean meats as alternatives to greasy, fried foods that tend to be more popular in low-income neighborhoods.That brilliant piece of legislation is being largely carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has already spent tens of millions of dollars to bring healthy fare such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains to low-income neighborhoods coined “food deserts” by the government. Even “at-risk” infants in day care centers are targeted with a special initiative (Lets Move Child Care) launched by the First Lady earlier this year.This week’s child obesity project du dour comes compliments of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Like all other child obesity war programs launched by the Obama Administration this one will target poor ethnic minorities. Specifically, limited English proficiency populations will be hit hard.That’s because, although rates of childhood obesity are high overall in the U.S., they are particularly higher in minority and low–income communities. So the CDC will spend $25 million on “innovative approaches” to reach low–income and minority families in a quest to wipe out childhood obesity. This, in turn, will prevent the onset of many diseases associated with fat kids, including type two diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.The “innovative approaches” include combining changes in medical care with “supportive changes” in schools, child care centers and community venues such as retail food stores and parks, according to the CDC’s announcement. Additionally, health workers will provide a bridge between families and community resources to better inform and educate hard-to-reach, limited English proficiency and minority communities about disease prevention, health insurance opportunities and disease management.The money will be split between three research facilities—in Texas, California and Massachusetts—that will find ways to combat obesity among underserved children throughout the United States by focusing on improving nutrition and physical activity. Results of the multi-million-dollar investment will eventually be published so taxpayers can see what they’re getting for their money.
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