We Can! can be a model for overcoming the challenges of childhood obesity and overweight, Galson said. "Its partnerships are demonstrating how physical activity and sound lifestyle choices can make a difference and how communities can work together to make those lifestyle choices real," he said.
We Can! is an education program to help children aged 8 to 13 years old to maintain a healthy weight. It's being implemented in more than 450 communities in 44 states.
Zerhouni said getting kids away from the TV and the computer is key to improving their health. Increased activity, better food choices and smaller portions complete the arsenal for fighting the obesity epidemic, he said.
The three new We Can! cities announced Thursday are introducing the program to city employees, community groups, corporate wellness programs, health professionals and schools.
While improvement in childhood obesity is vital, the results may not be seen for decades, Galson said.
"It's a national necessity with profound implications -- we all have a stake in the outcome," he said. "The result may not be apparent for many years, but it's going to be a fitter, healthier, more physically active nation in which the epidemic of childhood obesity slows down."
In addition to the Association of Children's Museums, 40 national and corporate partners are starting We Can! programs in community centers, schools, health-care settings, corporate wellness programs and faith-based organizations, officials said.
A study this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that after increasing for the last 25 years, the prevalence of obesity among adults has not risen in the past few years. Still, 34 percent of Americans aged 20 and older are obese.
"In view of these alarmingly high rates of obesity in all po
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