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Release No. 0458.10
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Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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USDA Official Visits California to Highlight Initiative to Combat Childhood Obesity and Promote Physical Activity

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 10, 2010 – USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs Audrey Rowe today delivered the keynote address at the Childhood Obesity- A Call to Action Summit in Los Angeles, emphasizing the Obama Administration's efforts to combat childhood obesity and improve the health of children nationwide. Rowe also emphasized First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign and its goal to end childhood obesity within a generation.

"Improving the nutrition and health of our children so they have a greater opportunity to succeed and to reach their highest potential is a key priority for the Obama Administration," said Rowe. "First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign is leading the way and helping to inspire all Americans to work together to achieve the goal of ending childhood obesity in a generation."

The University of Southern California hosted the child obesity summit in cooperation with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Obesity is one of the fastest growing public health issues in the United States with one in three children either overweight or obese. Obesity puts children at risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and cancer over the course of their lives. Studies show one-third of all children will eventually suffer from diabetes, with the rate in African American and Latino communities reaching nearly one-half. Rowe also recognized USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge, an initiative that honors schools for providing healthier foods, nutrition education and physical activity opportunities.

"September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month and it's imperative that we, as a Nation, focus on this vital issue this month and throughout the year," said Rowe. "USDA's child nutrition programs are uniquely positioned to address childhood obesity and to ensure our next generation has access to safe, nutritious, and well-balanced meals."

Improving USDA's child nutrition programs on behalf of 32 million kids across the nation is a top priority of the Obama Administration. Strengthening the Child Nutrition Act, which authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, is the legislative centerpiece of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign. This legislation will serve as a down payment in battling hunger and food insecurity while providing critical resources to raise a generation of healthy children. To learn more about the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, visit www.LetsMove.gov .

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs, which touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. More information about FNS and its nutrition assistance programs is available at www.fns.usda.gov .

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