Michelle Obama speaks to NAACP on obesity and children

First lady Michelle Obama told the NAACP Convention meeting in Kansas City today that the time had come for dramatic changes to the diets of African Americans and young people across the country.

Obama, pushing her "Let's Move" initiative designed to attack childhood obesity, said the scourge of overeating is threatening the nation's future.

One in three children in this country are overweight or obese, Obama said.

"We need to take this issue seriously," she said — as seriously as the need for better schools, a halt to gun violence and the threat of AIDS.

The nation is confronting what she called a "perfect storm" of "bad habits and unhealthy decisions" that have led to skyrocketing rates of diabetes and other weight-related conditions.

The economic gains the NAACP and other groups have fought for over the decades will be lost if today's young people grow into adults who lack the energy to be good performers on the job.

"It is going to take all of us working together to lead healthier lives right from the beginning," Obama said.

Obama was speaking just four days after her husband was in town to promote green jobs and raise money for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Robin Carnahan.

But few attendees at Bartle Hall voice displeasure that the president himself did not appear Monday. They said the first lady was a more than worthy replacement and pointed out that Obama attended last year's NAACP convention.

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