FR Doc 2010-5719
[Federal Register: March 16, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 50)]
[Notices]               
[Page 12493-12494]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr16mr10-21]           
         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Task Force on Childhood Obesity: Request for Information

AGENCY: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and 
Human Services, U.S. Department of Education.

ACTION: Joint request for comments.

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SUMMARY: Across the country, childhood obesity has reached epidemic 
rates. On February 9, 2010, President Obama signed a Presidential Memo 
establishing a Task Force on Childhood Obesity that directs Federal 
agencies to create a comprehensive interagency national action plan to 
solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation. The 
Presidential Memo directs the Task Force to focus on four pillars: 
Ensuring access to healthy, affordable food; increasing physical 
activity in schools and communities; providing healthier food in 
schools; and empowering parents with information and tools to make good 
choices for themselves and their families. This notice announces a 
request for public comments to assist the Task Force in making 
recommendations on public and private sector actions that can be taken 
to solve the problem.

DATES: To be assured of consideration, written comments must be 
submitted or postmarked on or before March 26, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions 
for submitting comments. Comments may also be submitted by fax or by 
mail to: Director, Office of Executive Secretariat, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 116-A Whitten 
Building, Washington, DC 20250 (FAX: 202-720-7166); however, 
respondents are strongly encouraged to submit comments through 
http://www.regulations.gov, as it will simplify the review of their input 
and help to ensure that it receives full consideration. All comments 
submitted in response to this notice will be included in the record and 
will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the 
substance of the comments and the identity of the individuals or 
entities submitting the comments will be subject to public disclosure. 
All comments will be made available publicly on the internet at http://
www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alexia Green, Office of the Executive 
Secretariat, United States Department of Agriculture, 202-720-1570.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Nearly one-third of children in America are 
overweight or obese--a rate that has tripled in adolescents and more 
than doubled in younger children since 1980. One-third of all 
individuals born in the year 2000 or later will eventually suffer from 
diabetes over the course of their lifetime, while too many others will 
face chronic obesity-related health problems such as heart disease, 
high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. Without effective 
intervention, many more children will endure serious illnesses that 
will put a strain on our health-care system and reduce their quality of 
life.
    President Obama has set a goal to solve the problem of childhood 
obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach 
adulthood at a healthy weight. To reach that goal, President Obama 
signed a Presidential Memorandum on February 9, 2010, establishing a 
Task Force on Childhood Obesity that directs Federal agencies to create 
a comprehensive interagency national action plan to solve the challenge 
of childhood obesity within a generation. The Task Force is chaired by 
the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and composed of 
senior Federal officials representing the White House, the Office of 
Management and Budget, and the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, 
Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as senior officials 
of other executive departments, agencies, or offices designated by the 
chair. The Presidential Memorandum directs the Task Force to make 
recommendations that include, but are not limited to, meeting four 
objectives: (1) Ensuring access to healthy, affordable food; (2) 
increasing physical activity in schools and communities; (3) providing 
healthier food in schools; and (4) empowering parents with information 
and tools to make good choices for themselves and their families.
    The specific responsibilities of the Task Force are to:
    1. Detail a coordinated strategy by executive departments and 
agencies to meet the objectives of the Task Force and identify areas 
for reform to ensure complementary efforts and avoid duplication, both 
across the Federal Government and between other public or 
nongovernmental actors;
    2. Include comprehensive, multi-sectoral strategies from each 
member executive department, agency, or office and describe the status 
and scope of its efforts to achieve this goal;
    3. Identify key benchmarks and provide for regular measurement, 
assessment, and reporting of executive branch efforts to combat 
childhood obesity;
    4. Describe a coordinated action plan for identifying relevant 
evidence gaps and conducting or facilitating needed research to fill 
those gaps;
    5. Assist in the assessment and development of legislative, 
budgetary, and policy proposals that can improve the health and well-
being of children, their families, and communities; and
    6. Describe potential areas of collaboration with other public or 
nongovernmental actors, taking into consideration the types of 
implementation or research objectives the Federal Government, other 
public actors, or nongovernmental actors may be particularly well-
situated to accomplish.

In addition, the Presidential Memo directs the Task Force to conduct 
outreach with representatives of private and nonprofit organizations, 
State, tribal, and local authorities, and other interested persons who 
can assist with the Task Force's development of a detailed set of 
recommendations to solve the problem of childhood obesity.

[[Page 12494]]

Consistent with the directives of the Presidential Memorandum, the 
Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, and Department of 
Health and Human Services are publishing this Request for Information 
on behalf of the Task Force to solicit comments and feedback to assist 
the Task Force in making recommendations on public and private sector 
actions that can be taken to solve the problem of childhood obesity. 
Through this notice, guidance is provided as to the matters to be 
discussed and the categories of information with respect to which 
interested parties may submit comments.
    The work of the Task Force will complement the efforts of First 
Lady Michelle Obama as she leads a national public awareness effort to 
tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity. Through the First Lady's 
Let's Move initiative, she will encourage involvement from the public, 
nonprofit, and private sectors, as well as families to help support and 
amplify the work of the Federal Government in improving the health of 
the Nation's children. The campaign will give parents the information, 
motivation, and support they need to make sure that their children are 
healthy. It will help children be more physically active and allow them 
to make healthy food choices because healthy, affordable food will be 
available in every part of the country. For more information, please 
visit http://www.letsmove.gov/.
    Matters To Be Considered: Information is being sought on the 
categories of information that follow. When submitting comments, 
interested parties are asked to restate the question and to provide any 
additional information deemed pertinent to their comment.
    1. For each of the four objectives described above, what key topics 
should be addressed in the report?
    2. For each of the four objectives, what are the most important 
actions that Federal, State, and local governments can take?
    3. Which Federal government actions aimed at combating childhood 
obesity are especially in need of cross-agency coordination?
    4. For each of the four objectives, what are the most important 
actions that private, nonprofit, and other nongovernmental actors can 
take?
    5. For each of the four objectives, what strategies will ensure 
that efforts taken by all of the entities mentioned above reach across 
geographic areas and to diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and 
geographic groups, including children who are at highest risk of 
obesity and children with disabilities?
    6. What goals should we set within each objective to ensure that we 
meet our overall goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity in 
this Nation in a generation?
    7. What concrete, specific actionable recommendations or guidelines 
would help parents reduce the risk that their child will become 
overweight or obese and how can their effectiveness be measured?
    8. What are the key benchmarks by which we should measure progress 
toward achieving those goals?
    9. What important factors should be considered that do not easily 
fit under one of the four objectives?
    10. What are the key unanswered research questions that need to be 
answered with regard to solving childhood obesity and how should the 
Federal Government, academia, and other research organizations target 
their scarce resources on these areas of research?
    11. In areas or communities that currently have a high incidence of 
childhood obesity, what is the best explanation of why particular 
children do not become obese?
    12. Specifically with regard to objective 1 (empowering parents): 
How can Federal, State, and local governments, the private sector, and 
community organizations best communicate information to help parents 
make healthy choices about food and physical activity?
    13. Specifically with regard to objective 2 (healthier food in 
schools): What are the most promising steps that can be pursued by the 
Federal, State, and local governments, schools, communities, the 
private sector, and parents to ensure that children are eating healthy 
food in schools and child care settings?
    14. Specifically with regard to objective 3 (access to healthy, 
affordable food): What are the biggest challenges to enhancing access 
to healthy and affordable food in communities across America, and what 
are the most promising strategies to overcome these challenges?
    15. Specifically with regard to objective 4 (physical activity): 
What steps can be taken to improve quality physical education and 
expand opportunities for physical activity during the school day, in 
local communities and neighborhoods, and in outdoor activities and 
other recreational settings?
    16. What other input should the Task Force consider in writing the 
report?

    Dated: March 9, 2010.
Thomas J. Vilsack,
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Dated: March 9, 2010,
Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    Dated: March 9, 2010,
Arne Duncan,
Secretary, U.S. Department of Education.
[FR Doc. 2010-5719 Filed 3-15-10; 8:45 am]
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