Michelle Obama to Normalize the Nation's Weight

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are up to fight obesity of U.S. children now more than ever.

"I have set a goal to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight," Obama said in signing the order at the White House.

He assigned his cabinet officers to meet within three months and come up with "a comprehensive interagency plan" and asked the first lady to head up a national public awareness effort.

Two industry groups, the American Beverage Association and the Grocery Manufacturers of America, both pledged to work with Michelle Obama to fight childhood obesity.

The ABA, which represents nonalcoholic beverage makers, said its members would voluntarily put clear, consumer-friendly nutritional information on the front of all their packages, vending machines and fountain machines by 2012.

"The companies will coordinate with the Food and Drug Administration to implement the calorie initiative, which will go above and beyond what is required by the federal agency's food labeling regulations," the ABA said in a statement.

The first lady said the administration had proposed an additional $10 billion over 10 years to update and strengthen the Child Nutrition Act.

"We can't wait 90 days to get going here. So let's move right now, starting today, on a series of initiatives to help achieve our goal," she said, referring to the task force.

It is the second year in a row that the White House has proposed a $1 billion a year increase for child nutrition. Congress delayed the overhaul until this year because lawmakers could not find a way to pay for the increase last year.

The independent Institute of Medicine has found in several studies that Americans will have to exercise more, eat less fatty and sugary food and eat more fruits and vegetables to overcome obesity and the heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other health problems it brings.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that 68 percent of U.S. adults are overweight and half of these are obese, with a body mass index of 30 or higher.

Obesity rates were relatively stable between 1960 and 1980 but have risen rapidly since 1980.

Reuters has contributed to the report.

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