The more charismatic, more popular Obama will attend the NAACP ‘s 101st Annual Convention in Kansas City. First Lady Michelle Obama accepted the NAACP’s invitation to speak on July 12, 2010, President Obama did not. “We are elated to have First Lady Michele Obama joining us to celebrate our 101st year,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous.
The first lady is expected to discuss strategies to overcome the childhood obesity epidemic and drum up support for her comprehensive campaign against childhood obesity, Let’s Move! Obama has made a high-profile campaign of offering healthier foods in schools and making better food options affordable throughout the nation, alongside encouraging children to engage in physical activities.
“It is my honor to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama to our annual convention to discuss her views on ways to tackle an epidemic that is plaguing our nation’s young people,” said NAACP Chair Roslyn M. Brock. “She is a commanding figure who will ensure that this issue is at the forefront of our nation’s health agenda.”
African American women have the highest obesity rates of any group in the U.S.. In 2007, four out of five African American women were overweight or obese. Deaths from heart disease and stroke, complications that can stem from obesity, are almost twice the rate for African Americans as compared to whites.
“At our convention, we will unveil health care and advocacy solutions to help solve the critical health problems that are plaguing our communities,” Jealous said in a statement announcing Obama’s address.
One solution in the first lady’s campaign is the Healthy Food Financiang Initative (HFFI)—proposed by the president for the 2011 budget. The HFFI combines one-time loan and grant financing to leverage private investment with public funds. HFFI is modeled after a program in Pennsylvania in which a $30 million investment by the state led to $190 million in total project costs, and resulted in 83 markets in underserved communities across the state, improved access to healthy food for more than 400,000 people, and more than 5,000 jobs.
The initiative would increase the availability of healthy foods, create tens of thousands of retail and construction jobs, and reinfuse low-income communities and communities of color with real food. Policy Link is urging people who think HFFI sounds delicious to write Congress and tell them you need better food options in your neighborhood
Photo: Getty Images/Alex Wong