Foundation fights childhood obesity

April 4, 2007 at 7:23 AM

PRINCETON, N.J., April 4 (UPI) -- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, N.J., announced plans for a $500 million program aimed at combating childhood obesity.

The effort aims to combat the condition, which Census Bureau data and a 2006 study estimate affects 25 million U.S. children under the age of 17, by promoting healthy lifestyles, the foundation said in a news release.

"This is an all-American crisis," said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the foundation. "It affects all Americans and it will require all of America working together to turn it around. ... To reverse the obesity epidemic and create a culture of health, we must provide families with better access to healthy choices."

The news release stated that the foundation's plan includes giving children who live in poor and unsafe neighborhoods access to healthy food and safe play spaces. The foundation is also funding research into obesity and encouraging governments to tackle the issue.

"Individual choice and behavior are important but the world we live in plays a big role, too. We have to make it easier for kids to eat well and move more," said Lavizzo-Mourey.

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