President Clinton Joins Governor's Obesity Campaign - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

President Clinton Joins Governor's Obesity Campaign

May 3, 2005--Posted at 5:00 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-- They call being overweight a "national epidemic." Governor Huckabee and President Clinton join forces to fight childhood obesity.

They both bring weight-related issues to the table.

President Clinton has had heart surgery. The Governor lost one-hundred pounds, and is about to release a weight-loss book.

Governor Huckabee remembers what his fight with obesity was like, more importantly, the lifestyle that almost killed him.

"My doctor sat me down and said if you don't change your lifestyle, you're in the last decade of your life and that really shook me up," Huckabee says.

It was unhealthy eating habits that are often socially accepted and promoted that encouraged his struggle with weight.

Much like the battle that our children face today.

"You got the onset of adult diabetes in children now plainly because of their eating habits, aggravated by the lack of exercise, but we've got to change the eating habits of America's young people," Clinton says.

It's a fast food sensation that often encourages a fat ridden diet, but times our changing with healthy alternatives like fruit cups and salads. Those are just some of the new additions on fast food menus.

Local lunchrooms like Fox Meadow Intermediate are also pushing healthy diets.

They say parents are becoming more concerned about healthy choices in the cafeteria.

Child Nutrition Director Dawn Ragsdale says, "Almost everyday you'll see there's fruit or salad or both."

She says school cafeterias have figured out a way to put a spin on the foods children love.

"We write our food descriptions to fit into a certain category so it has less fat so a lot of times we'll do bakable fries and stuff like that," Ragsdale says.

This is an effort that President Clinton says can possibly save the lives of 16 percent of children in America suffering from obesity.

"If you just reduce the number of calories that our children are taking in by 50 a day it would make a huge difference to them over the course of their childhood," Clinton says.

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