First lady to bring obesity message to Atlanta

Michelle Obama will mark the first anniversary of her “Let’s Move’’ campaign to fight childhood obesity Wednesday with a trip to Atlanta.

Her first stop is expected to be the Burgess-Peterson Academy in Atlanta, where she will focus on healthy eating and gardening. Later she will speak at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta about her “Let’s Move” program, nutrition and exercise.

The topic of childhood obesity is more important than ever. Those rates have been surging nationally, yet the problem is especially acute in Georgia.

A new state-by-state scorecard rates Georgia 49th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the percentage of children ages 10 to 17 who are overweight or obese. Georgia Health News’ article on the Commonwealth Fund’s report card is available here.

The first lady has made inroads on the topic of healthy eating. A New York Times story Monday points out that she helped persuade Congress to require schools to include more fruits and vegetables in their lunches. And she pushed a requirement for restaurants to print nutrition information on menus. That’s now a provision in the health care reform law.

The Times also says Obama’s advisers are discussing with the National Restaurant Association her goal of smaller portions and healthier items in children’s meals.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, analyzes the effects of her anti-obesity campaign.

In other obesity-related news, Harvard researchers report that formula-fed infants who are given solid foods before they are 4 months old have a higher risk of becoming obese by age 3 than those starting those foods later. Here’s the Wall Street Journal article on the study, which was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.