michelle-obama_web.jpgBroward County commissioners recently passed a proclamation in support of county and local programs that tackle childhood obesity through the Broward County Nutrition and Fitness Task Force, a coalition of community groups working together to stop the epidemic of severely overweight children. The formation of the task force and the programs that will follow lay the foundation for the county’s response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.

The campaign is dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation. It seeks to put children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years.

 The initiative gives parents information and fosters conditions that support exercise and healthy choices.

It also promotes healthier foods for children in school and works to ensure that every family has access to healthy, affordable food.

“I represent a district that has a number of people who have little to no income and lack the finances and ability to make healthy choices on behalf of their children.

I’m involved in many community programs that encourage sports and exercise to benefit children,” Commissioner Dale Holness said in a statement.

Holness and Commissioner Ilene Lieberman co-sponsored the proclamation.

“This initiative has many components. One is to get children to get out and engage in physical activities, the second is the nutritional component that seeks to end so-called ‘food deserts’ [in] communities where fresh foods may not be readily available. We’re encouraging business expansion in those communities,” Lieberman said in the statement.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled and nearly one-third of American children are overweight or obese, the statement said, adding that the numbers are higher in African-American and Hispanic communities.

The County’s Human Services Department has engaged a number of county agencies and community partners to join in the effort to make Broward a healthier community. Holness and Lieberman took part in the Future First televised program sponsored by the Children Services Council of Broward County that explores efforts taking place to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. The program may be seen at broward.org/video.

“Activities to promote health and wellness in Broward’s children are being incorporated at Broward County parks and libraries, through programs offered by the Broward Health department and School District and a number of community provider networks,” Human Services Deputy Director Mike Elwell said.

Community partners include the Children’s Services Council, the YMCA, Running with Sole, Florida Introduces Physical Activity and Nutrition to You (FLIPANY).

AP File Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama