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Administration's Campaign against Obesity Gains Momentum

Apr 16, 2010

The Obama administration's campaign against obesity gained more momentum last week with a series high-visibility events. On April 9, First Lady Michelle Obama opened a day-long forum on childhood obesity at the White House to continue to build awareness and search for solutions. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each announced the distribution of grants for research relating to obesity prevention.

"IDFA continues to work with the White House, USDA, Congress and other federal agencies to reinforce the nutrient-rich benefits of milk and dairy products as part of a balanced diet," said Ruth Saunders, vice president for policy and legislative affairs. "It is good to see that lowfat and nonfat dairy products are an integral part of the healthy lifestyle that the First Lady is championing on behalf of children."

The First Lady's forum focused on ways to offer children increased access to healthy foods and increase their physical activity. One of the sessions focused on how to bring healthier foods to schools and stressed the importance of national standards for nutrition that would cover all foods and beverages in schools. Videos of the opening session and closing session are available online.

Also last week, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the recipients of a total of $11 million in grants as part of its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Human Nutrition and Obesity program. One grant went to the University of Missouri, which aims to test obesity-prevention strategies through food banks. The project will examine the impact of increasing consumption of lowfat dairy products as well as fruits and vegetables in children's diets.

A complete list of the grants issued by USDA is available here.

The CDC also announced the awarding to obesity-prevention grants through the "Communities Putting Prevention to Work" initiative. This initiative was established in the Recovery Act of 2009, more commonly know as the stimulus package. Several of the grants will focus on programs that would reduce sweetened beverage consumption. One grant will allow the state of Washington to study the impact that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages might have on consumption. Although it is unknown whether the study will affect sweetened flavored milk, IDFA will closely monitor any activity.

For more information, contact Saunders at or (202) 220-3553.


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