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Recommendations from White House task force to combat childhood obesity

Wednesday, May 12, 2010; C05

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity calls for:

-- Women to be at a healthy weight at conception and avoid excess weight gain during pregnancy.

-- Breast-feeding to be encouraged: Studies show babies fed this way are 22 percent less likely to become obese.

-- Smaller restaurant portions and posting of calorie information.

-- Schools to serve more fruits in lunches and vending machines.

-- The USDA to add 2 million children to the school lunch program by 2015.

-- A 50 percent increase in high school students attending daily physical-education classes.

-- Recess classes in elementary schools to increase by 95 percent.

-- Updated federal nutrition standards for meals served at schools and more school-based nutrition education. Congress is updating the guidelines. Legislation that cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee would spend an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years on school nutrition programs; the Obama administration has asked for $10 billion more.

-- Pediatricians to check patients' body mass index, a height-weight calculation used to measure body fat.

-- A standard nutrition label on the front of packaged foods.

-- The food industry and beverage industry to limit the marketing of unhealthy products to children, with government regulation as a last resort.

-- Economic incentives to eradicate "food deserts," urban and rural areas with few grocery stores.

-- Insurance plans to cover services necessary to treat and prevent childhood obesity.

-- Using cartoon characters to promote only healthy food.

-- From Post wire services

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