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Bill Clinton and Rachael Ray Tag Team Childhood Obesity

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:10pm

Former President Bill Clinton and talk show host Rachael Ray are teaming up to fight the childhood obesity crisis, according to an article in the New York Times by reporter Kim Severson.

For her part, Ray just launched Yum-O, a nonprofit organization that "educates kids and their parents about cooking, enabling them to explore the joys of food while making meals that are easy, healthy, affordable and delicious," according to the group's website.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the anti-childhood obesity initiative Clinton's foundation created with the American Heart Association, will be one of Ray's partners in this new venture.

Clinton's organization, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, works with schools nationwide to improve their menus and to implement other health-giving programs. Ray will give items from her line of cookware to schools on the forefront of improving nutrition, and may even visit some of those schools as well. Together, Ray and Clinton's alliance will also promote Nickelodeon's" Go Healthy Challenge," which is part of the channel's " Let's Just Play" series.

The two announced their plans on a recent episode of the popular "The Rachael Ray Show," which reaches 4 million viewers, according to Severson's story.

Clinton's zeal on this issue was partly inspired by his 2004 quadruple bypass, which, as he says in this clip of his appearance on Ray's show, was necessitated by years of indulging in fast food, fried foods and other artery-clogging stuff.

Both Clinton and Ray will bring an amazing amount of star power to this worthy endeavor. In fact, Clinton has interesting weight tales himself -- he was overweight as a child, he tells Rachel Ray, noting that when he was 13, he was 5'8" and weighed 185 pounds.

Of the scary possibility that today's generation of kids may actually face shorter life expectancies than their parents, Clinton declared "it will be immoral if we let that happen," according to the New York Times story. I couldn't agree more!

His appearance on "The Rachael Ray Show," isn't the only time that Clinton's been sounding the alarms about childhood obesity lately.

Now, a cynic might ask why Clinton didn't do more about the issue of childhood obesity when he was president -- and that's certainly a valid one. And not every recipe on Ray's Yum-O website is a perfect example of healthy food, in my opinion (like her Chocolate Yogurt Parfait ).

But for me, raising a 4-year-old in this junk-food saturated world, it's never too late for our leaders and celebrities to take action, and I don't need perfection. I applaud Clinton and Ray for trying to address the very serious issue of childhood obesity, and I hope that their popularity and influence will inspire others to take action, too.

From Jennifer Moore

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