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Bill Clinton, Health Groups to Tackle Childhood Obesity
Date:2/19/2009

elp when they find it -- Clinton said he hoped that the new initiative would address what for many parents is "somewhere between a problem and a nightmare."

The new effort, called the "Alliance Healthcare Initiative," is the latest venture of The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, created in 2005 by the AHA and the William J. Clinton Foundation. In 2006, the Alliance helped shepherd an agreement among soft drink manufacturers that established sweetener, calorie and fat guidelines, and limited the sale of sodas in elementary, middle, and high schools attended by 35 million American students.

For his part, AHA president Dr. Tim Gardner described the new initiative as "a very historic moment" and one that is needed as the nation's medical system becomes increasingly burdened by obesity-related costs amid growing economic hardship.

He noted that the direct health care costs for the treatment of children who are already overweight or obese currently tops $14 billion annually, and, overall, obesity costs the nation an estimated $117 billion annually in both healthcare costs and lost productivity.

"We're here today because there is an obesity epidemic in this country," Gardner said. "One in three teens in this country are overweight or obese."

And, he added, "there's a risk that this generation will be the first in our history to have a shorter lifespan than their parents."

More information

For additional information on childhood nutrition, visit the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Former President Bill Clinton; Tim Gardner, M.D, president, American Heart Association; Feb. 19, 2009, "Alliance Healthcare Initiative" press conference, New York City


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