Former President Takes On Fat

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

May 3, 2005

Now in a push to end childhood obesity, Former President Bill Clinton recounted his own struggles with weight problems and eating habits.

Former President Bill Clinton announced the launch of a 10-year initiative to combat childhood obesity. In his announcement, Clinton stated that "we've got to change the eating habits of America's young people."

Yes, that's Bill Clinton. The workaholic, cigar smoking, super-sizing president. The former President said, "I loved all that stuff."

He seems an unlikely candidate to kick off a health initiative. Recently, Clinton says he's sworn off all junk food. "I don't think I've had any junk food since my surgery," he explained.

That was last September, when the president underwent a quadruple bypass operation. Since then he says he's dropped 15 pounds and gained a new appreciation of the country's obesity epidemic, but is it a cause really worthy of a former president?

"I'm working on tsunami relief, I'm working on aids, but cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America," said Clinton.

So, today, at an elementary school in New York, Clinton announced the launch of a nationwide 10 year initiative to combat childhood obesity. A plan that would focus on changing school lunches, removing junk from school vending machines, and getting parents to put the brakes on fast food.

"We can change this over the next few years," Clinton added.

How in the world do you stop a busy parent who has a mini-van full of kids from going through the drive through at McDonald's?

"You don't. What you do is ask McDonald's if they can cook fries in healthier way," said Clinton.

That could seriously re-shape the country's kids. The former president wants to encourage kids to make healthy food choices, something he admits was hard for him to do; even when he was the most powerful man in the world.

Clinton says he still runs several miles a day--the same distance he ran while in office, and he decided to take on fat with this initiative after finding out the statistics for childhood obesity have double over the last decade.

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