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Taking on the Challenge of Childhood Obesity

Last week, I participated in a meeting on childhood obesity at the White House to discuss ways to combat the growing health epidemic. I joined the First Lady, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and experts and practitioners from around the country to discuss the challenges.

Since the launch of Let's Move! I have been traveling around the nation, taking the message around the country and talking to people about the challenges they're facing. I've traveled to Florida, where 43 percent of poor children and 45 percent of black children are either overweight or obese. I've met with Native American Tribal Councils, who are concerned about populations that have diabetes rates that are twice the national average. I've been to Durham, North Carolina, where the entire community is engaging in an effort to target obesity and other childhood health problems with unprecedented collaboration between public and private agencies. The problems are real, and so is the determination to solve them.

I want to change the national conversation from a negative one that focuses on disease to a positive conversation about being healthy and being fit. But for people to act on these conversations, Americans need to live and work in environments that support their efforts. We need everyone's help to support common sense, innovative tools and solutions. The meeting at the White House was an important step in that direction.