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Anti-obesity effort should target moms

Anti-obesity effort should target moms
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about her campaign to end the childhood obesity called "Let's Move" at the National Governors Association's winter meeting in Washington February 20, 2010. UPI/Madeline Marshall | License Photo

SAN FRANCISCO, April 15 (UPI) -- To be truly effective, first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign should target pregnant women, infants and pre-schoolers, U.S. researchers say.

Janet Wojcicki of the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. Melvin Heyman of the UCSF Children's Hospital say the program targets school-age children, many of whom are already are overweight or obese, and therefore it is not a comprehensive obesity intervention.

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Obama says the program involves updating nutritional labeling, improving school lunch nutritional standards, increasing physical activity and improving access to healthier food.

"Obesity prevention must start as early as possible, since school-age children already have an unacceptably high prevalence of obesity and associated medical conditions," the study authors said in a statement.

The 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found nearly one-third of U.S. children age 2 and older are overweight or obese.

Wojcicki and Heyman recommend the program target pregnant women to reduce weight gain and quit smoking because weight gain and smoking during pregnancy are linked to a child's increased risk for obesity later in life.

The article is published online ahead of print in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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