Bill Clinton urges action
on childhood obesity epidemic
President Bill Clinton urges participants at the 67th annual National
School Board Association conference, held in San Francisco, to
take responsibility to act against the childhood obesity "epidemic"
sweeping across the United States and the world.
By Ari Burack, Bay City News Service
April 15, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Former President Bill Clinton told
a packed audience of educators and school administrators today
in San Francisco that a rising tide of childhood obesity is setting
the stage for "a calamitous crisis in health" in the
United States and around the world.
Addressing the annual conference of the National School Boards
Association at Moscone Center, Clinton said "a confluence
of factors that have to do with how we work and live and raise
our children" are now threatening the nation's health care
system and endangering the lives of children.
Less exercise and poor eating and drinking habits among schoolchildren,
in combination with rising costs to middle-class families, less
time to prepare healthy food at home and nutrition and physical
education program cutbacks due to budget pressures on schools,
have contributed to the estimated 12.5 million children in America
who are considered overweight today, Clinton said.
Clinton added that researchers are now seeing a significant number
of schoolchildren, some as young as 9 years old, with Type 2 diabetes,
also known as adult-onset diabetes. He warned that heart attacks,
strokes, blindness and amputations could also rise as a result.
An already overburdened health care system will be unequipped
to handle diseases and other health issues brought on by obesity,
according to Clinton.
"We cannot allow this to happen," he declared.
Clinton said he has partnered with the American Heart Association
to counter childhood obesity and diabetes through promoting nutrition
education in schools, working with food suppliers for healthier
snack and drink alternatives in schools, and setting up more recreational
facilities for schoolchildren.
Clinton then recalled how as a youth, he had been overweight
and later on in life, suffered heart trouble. Now, at age 60,
Clinton said he feels as healthy as ever.
"After I had my heart surgery, I started thinking about
health care all over again," Clinton said. "Every day
for me is a gift," he added.
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