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Kass takes on 'Let’s Move' critics at obesity conference

Sam Kass

Sam Kass

Sam Kass, the deputy White House chef and senior adviser on healthy initiatives, defended First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity at The Weight of the Nation conference this week.

Some critics have said the first lady was turning into “the food police,” while some from the opposite end of the spectrum have said she places too much emphasis on exercise when overeating is the real problem.

In a keynote speech on Monday, Kass said that a wide range of approaches are needed to address the obesity issue.

He noted that the long-term goal of “Let’s Move” is to reduce childhood obesity from its current rate of 17 percent to a rate of just 5 percent by 2030.

“We knew that setting such an ambitious long-term goal had tremendous risks," according to a report in Obama Foodorama, a blog and digital archive about Obama administration food and nutrition initiatives. Kass also emphasized his previous statements that he does not believe that the approaches taken to stop tobacco use can be used to fight obesity.

Kass ended the speech with a rousing call to action, Obama Foodorama reported.

“Once upon a time, the American dream included the idea that kids would do better than their parents,” Kass said. “They’d be more educated, they’d earn a higher income, they’d be more successful."

“But today, our youngest generation could be the only one the not only doesn’t achieve the American dream, but they might actually live shorter lives than their parents,” he said.

“It’s not too late to secure the American dream for the next generation,” Kass concluded. “That’s what ‘Let’s Move!’ is.”