White House Chef: ‘Obesity May be Our Nation’s Greatest National Security Threat’

May 8, 2012 - 6:44 AM

White House chef

Sam Kass, the personal chef for the Obama family before they moved into the White House, is now an assistant chef and food initiative coordinator at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – A White House chef told health professionals on Monday that obesity endangers national security as well as people’s health – and that’s why he and many other people have embraced First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

“What motivates us is not just the fact that one in three Americans will have diabetes in their lifetime if we don’t change course, but the impact that it is having on our economy, on our health care system or our kids’ ability to learn, Sam Kass said. “It’s not just the fact that obesity may be our nation’s greatest national security threat, although all those reasons are of vital importance,” he added.

Kass was the personal chef for the Obama family before they moved into the White House. He’s now an assistant chef and food initiative coordinator at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

On Monday, at a “Weight of the Nation” event hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, Kass said he and Mrs. Obama are “dedicating the rest of our lives to the well-being of the next generation.”

“This is our life’s work,” Kass said. “The first lady dedicated her time and passion at the White House because this issue meant most to her as a mother and as an American.”

Kass said “Let’s Move” has made a difference since it was launched in February 2010.

On Feb. 9, 2012, marking the initiative’s second anniversary at an event in Iowa, the first lady heard “touching personal stories” about “how Let’s Move had changed their lives, how they’re eating wholesome food and having fun moving,” Kass said.

“The energy of those 14,000 kids dancing and cheering for fruits and vegetables – it was amazing – reminds me of just how far we’ve come from those conversations around the kitchen table in Chicago to those first plants we put in the ground (at the White House),” Kass said.

Ahead of Kass’ remarks, Mrs. Obama addressed the crowd by video: “We are truly making a difference,” but there is still "a long way to go,” she said.

Hundreds of health professionals from the public and private sector attended the event, which included a wide range of sessions covering everything from food marketing to children, weight bias and discrimination, healthy hospital food and beverages, and a panel discussion on “New Angles on Implementing a Healthy School Food/Nutrition Environment.”