And when so many of our children still attend crumbling schools, and a black child is still far more likely to go to prison than a white child, I think the founders of this organization would agree that our work is not yet done. (Applause.)
When African American communities are still hit harder than just about anywhere by this economic downturn, and so many families are just barely scraping by, I think the founders would tell us that now is not the time to rest on our laurels.
When stubborn inequalities still persist - in education and health, in income and wealth - I think those founders would urge us to increase our intensity, and to increase our discipline and our focus and keep fighting for a better future for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.)
And that’s why I really wanted to come here today - because I wanted to talk with you about an issue that I believe cries out for our attention - one that is of particular concern to me, not just as First Lady, but as a mother who believes that we owe it to our kids to prepare them for the challenges that we know lie ahead. And that issue is the epidemic of childhood obesity in America today.
Now, right now in America, one in three children is overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of obesity-related conditions like diabetes and cancer, heart disease, asthma.
And we’re already spending billions of dollars in this country a year to treat these conditions, and that number is only going to go up when these unhealthy children reach adulthood.
But it’s important to be clear that this issue isn’t about how our kids look. It’s not about that. It’s about how our kids feel. It’s about their health and the health of our nation and the health of our economy.
And there’s no doubt that this is a serious problem. It’s one that is affecting every community across this country. But just like with so many other challenges that we face as a nation, the African American community is being hit even harder by this issue. (Applause.)
We are living today in a time where we’re decades beyond slavery, we are decades beyond Jim Crow; when one of the greatest risks to our children’s future is their own health.
African American children are significantly more likely to be obese than are white children. Nearly half of African American children will develop diabetes at some point in their lives. People, that’s half of our children.