USDA seeks public recommendations for combating childhood obesity epidemic

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, March 18 – A joint request from USDA, the Department of Health & Human Services, and the Department of Education is asking the public to help “create a comprehensive interagency national action plan to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation.”

USDA’s Request for Information (RFI) to help the administration’s inter-agency Task Force on Childhood Obesity launched last month warns that:

“Across the country, childhood obesity has reached epidemic rates. . . Nearly one-third of children in America are overweight or obese – a rate that has tripled in adolescents and more than doubled in younger children since 1980.One-third of all individuals born in the year 2000 or later will eventually suffer from diabetes over the course of their lifetime, while too many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. Without effective intervention, many more children will endure serious illnesses that will put a strain on our health-care system and reduce their quality of life.”

The administration plans to draw on the combined strengths of the private sector, non-profit organizations and government and tribal agencies to find the best ways for:

  • “Ensuring access to healthy, affordable food,”
  • “Increasing physical activity in schools and communities”
  • “Providing healthier food in schools, and,”
  • “Empowering parents with information and tools to make good choices for themselves and their families.”

The RFI specifically asks for responses to questions such as “For each of the four objectives, what are the most important actions that Federal, State, and local governments can take?” and “what strategies will ensure that efforts . . . reach across geographic areas and to diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic groups, including children who are at highest risk of obesity and children with disabilities?”

To read USDA’s six-page Request for Information (RFI) regarding the Task Force on Childhood Obesity, go to:

To submit your comments, go to: and then enter “USDA-2010-0001-0002” in the “Enter Keyword” Search box. This will bring up the RFI itself along with all previous comments for viewing. Click the “Submit a Comment” button for each listing to comment either on the Childhood Obesity RFI itself or on previous public comments.

While USDA prefers web-submitted comments, if necessary you can also submit your comments by fax to 202-720-7166 or by mail to Director, Office Executive Secretariat, USDA,

1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
, Room 116-A Whitten Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20250. All comments submitted will be open to public view on the web along with your identity. Your comments must be submitted or postmarked by March 26.

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