US First Lady Michelle Obama today (9 February) launched ‘Let’s Move’, a drive designed to cut obesity levels among children in the country.

The campaign has been drawn up in a bid to encourage US families to eat more healthily and exercise more.

The push has been launched in tandem with The Partnership for a Healthier America, an independent NGO set up to “solve the child obesity challenge”.

Mrs Obama will be honorary chair of the new NGO, which has been set up by organisations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The NGO’s leader, healthcare industry veteran Larry Cocot, said the organisation will bring national attention to the issue.

“Since 1980, the number of obese children in our nation has tripled, and obesity now rivals smoking as the largest cause of preventable death and disease,” Cocot said.

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Mrs Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ initiative aims to get healthier food into US schools and help US children become more physically active.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the First Lady would bring “a new level of leadership and energy to the movement to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity”.

“Her prominence and credibility — not only as our nation’s First Lady, but also as a mother — already have drawn extraordinary public attention to the issue,” Lavizzo-Mourey said.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo, the company behind snacks giant Frito-Lay, “applauded the effort being led by First Lady Michelle Obama”.

“We believe that her ‘Let’s Move’ campaign can add significant momentum and leadership to many efforts underway,” said Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO.

“We have learned over the years there is no silver bullet to solve obesity. No single entity can do it alone. We need a guiding coalition in which individuals, companies, health agencies, consumer groups and governments all take on their appropriate responsibilities.”