First lady Laura Bush, joined in Washington by top government health officials, decried the soaring rate of childhood obesity and announced a new HHS-led initiative designed to help children and adults make wiser decisions about their health.
As part of a longer list of HHS preventive-health initiatives, collectively known as the Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative, Bush said that a new $12 million National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play would be created under the Administration for Children and Families to help inform Americans on the importance of exercise and healthy eating.
"Good health starts with good habits," Bush told more than 1,100 attendees of the 2007 National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit.
National statistics show that more than 10 million school-aged children, or roughly 1 in 5, are considered to be overweight. What's more, heavier children risk increased chances to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic illnesses as they mature into adulthood, Bush said. Already, more than 90 million Americans live with chronic illnesses, costing the government $1.5 trillion a year in healthcare costs.
The first lady also championed the president's existing programs that push to get individuals to eat healthier, exercise daily, get preventive health screenings and make healthier lifestyle decisions, such as quitting smoking. "Poor health is not a foregone conclusion of aging," she said. -- by Matthew DoBias