February 9, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
In Support of Campaign to Combat Childhood Obesity
WASHINGTON—On behalf of the 1.4 million members of the American Federation of Teachers, we are deeply concerned by the disturbing and dramatic rise in childhood obesity over the past three decades. Every day in the classroom, teachers see the harmful effects of students’ poor nutrition and health habits on their ability to do well in school and in life.
We applaud First Lady Michelle Obama’s leadership in drawing attention to and helping combat the increasing rates of childhood obesity. Americans must work together to ensure our children have the supports they need to develop lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity.
Efforts to promote good health—including ideas like community gardens—have already taken root in public schools across the country. We look forward to working with Mrs. Obama to further advocate for physical education as well as healthy meals and snacks in schools, and to extend the positive message of the importance of a healthy lifestyle to parents and communities. We also will continue to support legislation consistent with AFT policy seeking to address the problem of childhood obesity. More information can be found at: http://www.aft.org/about/resolution_detail.cfm?articleid=1342 and http://www.aft.org/about/resolution_detail.cfm?articleid=121.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.