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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  July 28, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EDT

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of war and destruction and people who die. maybe these are not to gross@@@@ unless, unfortunately, sometimes this happens like with the lady in gaza and we were confronted by images that were deleted immediately. you should show what destruction is all about, otherwise you'll cover up the ugly face of warfare. but do not go extremely to the other side. >> we are live on the show. >> i wondered if you could comment -- a fair portrayal of al-jazeera, did you participate in making it obviously and carry
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-- cover you're tehran? >> we did not participate in is, of course, during the war. and has introduced certain aspects that was seen by foreign journalists who came to al-jazeera and some of the people at that time saw al-jazeera as something flat box, they don't understand, they imagine journalists with long beards and the anchor woman with has cars trying to support polygamy and unfortunately that was an image because if you listen to what would have to say about us it was difficult to imagine a newsroom of people like every other news from doing business like any other news from so control room had that perspective about al-jazeera and, naturally and is spent a good time in the news from projecting that. do i feel that it does represent al-jazeera as the philosophy or
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journalism? i am not sure but i can say it does introduce something different and, the state's of evidence that had been at that time. >> i have a question about whether you have reached out to schools, high schools, colleges and if so, other teachers who want to show your sine watching a particular show or a particular issue or is the resistance and that you are showing? and they need to learn was how the government wants them to learn and not be confused by fax? connects you meet in the states? >> in arab countries. >> the reach out, to have relationships with the schools, department of education i guess or individual schools where -- i guess i'm asking multiple questions -- reaching out and whether a wear? >> actually i was a al-jazeera
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definitely space to i audience from every source of age however also al-jazeera launched association with the foundation, al-jazeera children, which is supposed to targets children and introduce educational programs to them. the foundation and al-jazeera participated in forming and founding the children and we do try to prove projects we have in mind to speak merely to people especially children and youth either through the screen and by the way al-jazeera is not one channel. by the end of this year we will have 14 channels so we have it channels from sports to life and other channels as well that are under construction at this point
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in time so, yes, we do targets this sector of the audience through certain kinds of programs and opportunities. >> [inaudible] >> the community and i think we don't have a specialty channel, but we do engaged them in discussion about prices and education in the arab world and the problems that are facing, and have some kind of discussion that but i cannot say we have specialized directed channelling toward a this education. >> let me ask, head of the bureau in washington is here and i'm lucky enough to be on the al-jazeera english section and sometimes i'm on al-jazeera arabic and it's interesting because you walk around in an arab airport and people sit on to that guy, but i have noticed your al-jazeera arabic content is largely completely separate from al-jazeera inglis contents. what are the pluses and minuses
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of that and do i have the right to present? >> actually we doave a al-jazeera error by targeting the audience in particular where ever they are in the world and talk to them all over the world. arabic and english is speaking to english-speaking people and i understand that the arab world prior to use of the news would be different because eventually the issues are related to their life and some of the regards al-jazeera as religious because do have certain needs especially because of the lack also of the other challenges and our country and controlling government challenges, however, we decided from the beginning that al-jazeera arabic and al-jazeera inglis would have the same reporting, but we would not have a one, news from the. and the priorities for al-jazeera arabic would be different from al-jazeera english and the same rules as
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same understanding of journalism and we have intensive discussion of ways between the two teams, we have one share the institution and most of our of yours talk to each other not only integrated with a two other but again we do not have a al-jazeera english as translation of it al-jazeera arabic and i think that is much more wise to have because in al-jazeera english at this moment has succeeded in two of the three years to do something different and to conquer new territories. we have audience in every 140 million households all over the world and from south africa to rush of we have gained a lot of popularity in the audience to make thank you. yes, sir. >> hi, two quick questions. number one, & sp1 it yemen just got into some hot water with
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somebody from reporting in the south continue to elaborate a little bit on where those threats came from and what is going on there? and number two, in terms of u.s. media either printing on television who do think is the most successful in reporting on the middle east? with u.s. news outlet either printing our television is the most of cecil and reporting on the middle east? >> you are putting me in trouble. first of all, in yemen unfortunately we have faced difficulty with the government, so the opposition and fortunately our reporters or attacks in the south from some angry mobs and they were demanding that they go immediately and that led to some kind of attack against them and one of our journalists was injured. on the other hand, we have received threatsrom the government's because they feel that what we brought to bear
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from al-jazeera is inciting violence in the south so we have it pressure from both parties. of course, of the people in general are much more friendly than the government's but at that particular incident you are referring to it was actually found some angry people who attacked al-jazeera and a letter from the government and they came out demanding some presenting other ruling party demanding from the parliament to issue a decision to close down al-jazeera. >> is that still pending? >> now we are continuing and so far we are still working with a lot of restraint, said, it is not really our correspondents and people go to the country and go where they like. some of the images are confiscated and some of these are not allowed to be broadcast so we still to face problems in yemen, but to go back to the second question.
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i cannot be -- i cannot pick one particular blogging, is difficult and actually a few other blogging sites i feel, a lot of people are really brilliant and they are reporting the malaise in particular not certain kinds of thinking. and also i look at somebody who is -- of course cnn is available and we look at it in new york times as well as so we have a different sources in the state's chemical new take this loss question from the gentleman i see through the lights. other. >> their? >> thank you, foreign service institute. two related questions, one is whether you like it or not you
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are part of a their of the cold war that is happening right now where there is a lot ofhe images on difference signs. eight you are understood to be on the insides and i don't sense you intensity, but what is your feeling about that? related to another question, are you going to have pepsi and coke or you need is other or do feel like it is a real fight for of the fall of the era populace? >> absolutely wonderful question. >> to start with, we have adopted the reporting about the middle east, we are a tv station that has made me cover the the dynamics of this society on figures of governments and people who have already been in that tough position. we have never had a friendly
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relationship with governments, however, we have with people so that was sometimes we are accused we are populists and i say we are not. i argue with politics in the middle east have not been in press conferences and happening in meeting rooms. without understanding that people -- the fabric of this society and without embedding yourself to the public and listening carefully to what everybody has to say, meeting with the people and allowing them to spring from various walks of life, i think we cannot reflect middle east and i did play. some others would prefer to be more on the side of what government say and what governments do because of fortunately it is not actually supporting governments. government officials of al-jazeera but we do see ourselves and tv station that is focusing on the center or is just repeating what politicians are talking about with certain
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governments. this is al-jazeera and i don't want to talk about anyone else. >> before i bring this to a close, and ask you a question, is to adjourn at work in your achievements and successes, what would you say is the biggest deficits, the thing that al-jazeera is in getting right quite read that you and your management of the network i really apply yourselves to the as you thank you got to overcome? >> two major challenges we have pointed out in our strategy, the first one is to reach out to more youth and this is what we are attempting to do very soon. i think what everyone is talking about politics and complex the new generation adulate our youth, they would like to see something different and sometimes politics of the surname so this is number one
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and the second issue is more interactive and integrating new media and reaching out to certain forms of the gobi hon these names so we would like to include that as well in our programming segments. >> and just want to say i am thrilled the u.s. government finally came to its senses and guys in the visa to come here. i will be blogging later in the week and did my own and with what i'm allowed to share about the important meetings that wadah khanfar and his teams are having in the u.s. government, is one of them to have access and not have access and is very clear and i can say this without you having to say is that looking at the itinerary whether the meetings go well or not there are good meetings and it seems to me that at least the obama administration is trying to push resets and we will see what happens here it is a great pleasure and privilege to have in washington. you're a speaking of foreign relations letter in new york but thank you so much, thank you.
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[applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] 4 [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> the house meets for general speeches at 10:30 eastern and returns at noon for legislative business. >> today the senate judiciary committee votes on the nomination of sonya sotomayor to
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the supreme court. live, 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3, c-span radio and c-span.org. and tour the home to america's highest court. the supreme court court, this fall on c-span. >> on c-span radio hear 1968l.b.j. phone calls with his secretary of state, richard nixon and billy graham. saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span radio. >> now, former president clinton on preventing childhood obesity. he spoke at a conference hosted by the centers for disease control. this is about 45 minutes.
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>> thank you. thank you very much. ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here and for inviting me. i want to thank -- i was reminded when dr. freedman said that i now had a foundation in new york, his former hometown, that i was kidding him backstage that hillary and i, i'm sure you all know, have a daughter we're very proud of. and she left the private sector and went back to graduate school in public health. [applause] one of the things she hoped to do was to spend this summer working in new york city for dr. freedman and another person that he ripped out of his department there to make new
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york the most successful city in the country in the transition to electronic medical records so i just want you to know, doc, she was still there on the job. but i say that because this whole issue of public health -- we're here to talk about childhood obesity. it's become an obsession of mine. but i want to say that in general, it is a public health issue that cannot be dealt with entirely within the confines of a medical office. and you don't want it to get to the point where all cases are dealt with within the confines of a hospital or a pharmaceutical response. it seems to me that in that way the childhood obesity problem is
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the microcosm of the whole thing we need to be thinking about here with health care reform. and i didn't come here to give a talk about it. it's beyond my pay grade now. i don't have to think about it, except that all of these debates about what change will save what money have an ear ear yilly -- earily familiar ring and give aid and comfort to the sources of status quo who are doing more money doing this than any system in the history or non-system so the truth is, we have to change the delivery system of a lot of things in america from energy to education to health care. this is a delivery system issue. and cultural issues really require us to go back and have a broader definition of delivery.
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so that's why you're all here. you're part of, with this childhood obesity initiative, america's attempt to reimagine how we take on our challenges in an interdependent world where we are all crashing up against one another. divorce is not an option. we can't get away from one another. there are lots of wonderful things about it but it is entirely too unstable, too unequal, and because the climate change completely unsustainable. in a world like that you have to build new and interesting partnerships to build up the positive forces and reduce the negative forces of interdependence. that is the context in which we confront this childhood obesity issue. and we were talking on the way out. before i came out here. ireland has a national campaign
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against it. the u.k. has a national campaign against it. india has a national campaign against it. how could they possibly need it if i think they have the world's most interesting diet? because they're chunking it rapidly in favor of western fast foods, particularly in urban area where's people are too busy to prepare all of that lovely food at home and they have limited amounts of disposable income. the other night i went to the annual fundraiser of the new york city food bank. it's wonderful. they are terrific. and they were honoring my friend jon bon jovi, who's a very good citizen and always does for us up there. so i went by and tried to support them. because food bank has lost quite a bit of money. as you might imagine, because of the collapse of so many wall street institutions, financial efforts.
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and they feed a huge number of people, our food bank does, every year. so they were saying, you know, we might have a million more people in new york city this year who are short of food because of this economic collapse. and the ultimate irony of that struck me because we also have more people who are at risk of childhood obesity in new york city. how can that be? because of the way instability and inequality play out in modern society. the children most at risk of being hungry are just on the utter side of a knife edge of those most at risk of obesity. the people most at risk of obesity are those who are the non-rich in a rich society who have enough opportunity and a churn -- in a churning rapidly sustaining society to get from rural areas to cities or from one neighborhood to another but can just barely pay their bills. and they have kids, they're
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busy. they think they don't have time to prepare food. they spend the limited income they have on high-bulk, low nutrition food. there are other reasons for it. but the big numbers are coming out of these huge social changes. i say that because i am very grateful that you have recognized the alines for healthier generation today. i'm grateful to the heart association for giving me the chance to start it with them. i'm profoundly grateful to the people who are running the program, including jenny ehrlich, our executive director. you'll hear from her later in this meeting here. and jessica black who directs our healthy school program. and i'm really grateful to the robert wood johnson foundation because they fund the healthy skol program without which we wouldn't be here. but it's really important to see the social and economic context
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of this. because if we want to change this, we have to change what goes on at home and in the community and in the neighborhood and in the schools. if we want to change it, we have to give people rational information and understand that both the economic and the psychological pressures that have made this perhaps the number one public health problem in the country certainly put the younger generation at risk of being the first in the history of our country to have is a shorter lifespan than their parents. i used to regularly say that we had a young 9-year-old diagnosed with type ii diabetes a couple of years ago in harlem. and yesterday i ran into a young woman who had worked in
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hillary's campaign who is at georgetown medical school who told me that she had just seen a 9-year-old girl in washington, d.c., with type ii diabetes. we have now been told that we can no longer refer to it as adult onset diabetes. so that's the setting for all of this. high stakes, deep causes. but i think a lot of reason to hope. next week we are going to have our annual program recognizing the schools in our alliance that we believe are doing the best. jess cal talk more about that and -- jessica will talk more about that. they're reaching more than 2.7 million children. and every year we have a meeting
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and recognize the ones we believe have done particularly outstanding work. we'll have 114 from around the country. but we actually try to keep score on all of them to see if we can both measure the results they're achieving and tie them as specifically as possible to the things they're doing. in the three years we've been working with schools, more than 3/4 of the schools that have participated in our healthy school program seem to be making quite good progress. and they seem to be successful, interestingly enough, in involving large numbers of parents. some of you may have seen we did a little program with rachael ray. i'll say more about that in a minute. but we had recognized two mothers, one from north carolina and one from indiana, who had basically gone out and literally raised enough money to provide exercise opportunities and
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recreational facilities at their schools. so we got -- we're beginning to try to change the culture here. and i think the healthy schools program has made a big difference. but we don't want to be naive about this. california was one of our best opportunities because arnold schwarzenegger thought this was a good idea and agreed to work with me on it in a bipartisan fashion. and back when they had money -- [laughing] they started actually hiring physical education teachers again, and actually paying for equipment to be put in the schools. and i went to california. and i saw things in ordinary public schools, lower income areas, that i have not seen in decades. so i don't think we can -- you know, we have to acknowledge there have been some consequences because of the economic downturn. but i do believe it's important to say that for me, at least, the healthy schools program has been a great success because you
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get both the particular benefits of whatever the particular things they're doing and a change in the cultural attitude. students going home and getting their parents involved. parents getting interested saying finally they're trying to do something to help me raise my children better. intergenerational efforts to eat better and exercise more. the school program has made a big difference. and, again, i want to say that none of it would be possible without the robert wood johnson foundation and some of the other individual donors and foundation help around the country and local settings. and that we hope to expand rather dramatically. i want to talk, if i might, just a little bit more about the alliance for healthier generation and the other things that we do. according to the figures released by the c.d.c. today, obesity causes the country an
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estimated $147 billion a year in direct health care costs. i personally believe that's quite conservative. that's direct, not indirect. most of you're analyzeees when i was president indicated the medicaid program alone had over 20% of its costs generated by diabetes. and its consequences. now that included type i and type ii but increasingly as a public health matter type ii is our problem for the reasons you know, that's what you can control. so it's a terrific number. they're having this huge debate in congress right now. with people that don't really understand that we spend over 16% of our income on health care, none of our competitors spend more than 11%. switzerland spends 12% because
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they have a very old population. very dispersed. a lot of rural, highly mountainous communities. canada is at 11%. france and germany are at about 10%. both of their systems are regularly rated better than ours in terms of health outcomes. and the only one under 10% is the u.k. because most -- because the employees all work for the government in the u.k. so those of you who get government salaries understand that. they hold the costs down. but even there in the last few years because of an effort to generally modernize the u.k. system they're up to over 9% of g.d.p. now. so we know that it takes 10% of your gross domestic product to run a first-class health system in a rich country in good times. with the kind of challenges that we all face. and we know all of our
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competitors have been able to do it for between 10% and 11%. and we have to spend 16.5% to leave over 50 million people uninsured, lots of other people under insured, and get health outcomes that are worse. and every time somebody's comes along, like the president now, and try to fix it all the naysayers say it's go loin gooding -- only going to make this more expensive. as if they're totally blameless for this wonderful system we have. but to be fair, in the world of washington, d.c., we, you know, strain at a lot of gnats while we're swallowing camels. that's what happens here. because people don't understand the impact of certain assumptions. and one of them is this.
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i say that because the difference in what we spend in canada does is abou about $800 billion a year in today's dollars. more than what it would cost to provide health insurance to every man, woman and child in america without insurance. and mckenzie & company if you're interested, did two studies on this. one updated last year, which actually break down where the cost differentials are and what the likely consequences on quality. but it really doesn't go to the heart of cultural behavioral systems that produce problems like the childhood obesity problem. so if you just look at this, $147 billion, it's roughly
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20% of the differential. and if we can get rid of it, it's more than we would need to cover everybody. this is something you should all think about. the most important thing is to save these kids lives. but it is important to see it in the contact of this debate that is unfolding in washington. now, then there's a new debate here, trying to bat away every change. for a long time i thought we were making progress in this health care year because the administration was making it really -- the really strong case that we had to fund more primary preventative care, and we had to set up basic care networks and try to stop bad things from happening in the first place. so the people with the interest in status quo started saying, you know, this might not save us
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very much money because we're going to be spending primary and preventative care on people who wouldn't have gotten sick anyway. and then people who are at real risk, their primary prevention, that will cost a lot of money. and you're going to spend primary preventative care on 100% of the people to keep only 10% of them from getting really, really sick. oh, it may be a nice thing to do, but we may not make money on it. give me a break. [laughing] i say that -- [applause] you know, it's kind of fun. when you're not in anymore, you just sit up in the peanut gallery. and i can see who the baseball manager is sending up to bat and what they're trying to do to get him to strike out. and i don't like it. because it really matters what
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happens here. it matters whether we save this generation of kids it matters whether we save our country's health system. and because i believe we can't make an affordable universal health plan without a thicker, more effective public health program that includes more and more people who have some means and, in effect, play membership fees the way you join certain health plans today, i want this to work. but let's go back to the primary prevention thing. because that's where a lot of you come in. last year the trust for america's health said that if we invested $10 a person a year, a whopping sum, on community-based programs with proven results to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking, we could save the country more than $16 billion per year.
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that is a return of $5.60 on every dollar spent. avoiding future heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and some kinds of cancers. and just general d b disabilitye that all prevention winds up costing you more money. this prevention will save more than five times what it costs. i think it's important that all of you know this. we're all going to talk later about what you should do. but you need go back to the field armed with this. you know, we have all of these
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assumptions, but the biggest one you've got to fight among the citizenry at large is, ok, we spend more than anybody else does on health care, but we're a rich country and we must have the best health care system in the world. ok, some people don't have health care. that's too bad, but that must be because nobody has to wait for all the wonderful things they get under our system which is better than anybody else's in the world. and it's almost impossible to break these things down. it's really important that you have simple things like this you can say to explain to people why you've got to do the stuff in the schools, why you've got to do the stuff in the community, why you've got to do all of these things. and why your government should give us health care reform. i think it's really, really important. let me just say just a couple more words about what we do. most of the time i was in politics, i was in the kind of debates i see going on in washington today. where the c.b.o. says, well, you
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know, this is way more expensive than you thought and a lot of these things aren't going to produce the savings you think and all of that. and where the people push you for reform then could fall under the trap of saying, well, since the things we really need to do are to change the delivery system, but we can't get any credit for that, let's just say we're going to cut medicare and medicaid, which will drive more good health care providers up the wall and make fewer people want to be in primary and preventive care and get us back in the soup again. and this is something we all need to be thinking about. but let me say most of the debates in washington -- you see it now in the health care debate. we saw it in the stimulus debate earlier. they debate two questions, don't they? people in politics. what are you going to do? and how much money are you going to spend on it?
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there is relatively little time spent on the third question which i take it is why dr. freedman was asked to assume his current position and why the rest of us who know about his work in new york were thrilled when he agreed to do it. because he answered the third question. however much money you've got to spend on whatever it is you're going to do, how do you propose to turn your good intentions into positive changes? the how question in the end matters more than the how much question. not because money doesn't matter but because if you answer the how question, you can get more money for what you're trying to do. [applause] if you answer the how question in demonstrable ways, you're more likely at least to get adequate levels of investment. and yet when most of the word wars that go back and forth in
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washington are about how and how much or what and how much, but how do you propose to turn your good intentions into positive changes matter. that's what our healthy schools program does. and we have done some other things i'd real li like to talk -- really like to talk about. because again, i will say i do not believe there is a chance that we can solve this problem unless we do it in the homes, the schools, the restaurants, the doctors offices, the communities. this is a social issue. we are trying to turn the titanic around before it hits the iceberg. and it is very much worth the effort. so let me just say a few words about the other things that we have tried to do. first, we do try to go into all of these places. the thing that is sometimes the most fun for me is we have an advisory board of 25 absolutely terrific young people who tell
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us whether these programs are going to have any impact at all on their generation. and it is true that sometimes we find that what we are absolutely sure they'll respond to they don't. and sometimes they respond to things we don't think they will because all people when they get older, are guilty of underestimating both the intelligence of the young and whether they're paying attention or not. the things that effect their own lives so these young people have really done a great job for us. and we now have a by kids, for kids movement that started with our partnership with nickelodeon. we now have 1.3 million of them who have personally enrolled with our effort to say they will eat better, exercise more and attempt to persuade their peers to do the same thing. i mentioned rachael ray earlier.
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she has been one of our partners. the way she fits into this, it's so important is she tried to show very busy parents with limited amounts of money and time how they can use whatever money and time they do have to actually prepare more nutritious foods. and we worked this with her. i don't have any data to know but i know that the show is highly rated and a lot of people watch the shows in particular where we recognize what the mothers in the schools were doing in carolina and indiana, as i mentioned earlier, and other things. we made agreements with the beverage industry and the snack food industry to reduce the colorric content -- caloric content in the products that
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they sell in the school vending machines. i really learned a lot about this when i got into this. i went to a really big high school. at least by arkansas stands standards. i had about 325 people in my senior class. we had one vending machine in the whole school that sold a few soft drinks. and i had to learn all about the rights of the vending machines and the economics of the schools and how it funded what and all of that. but i can only tell you that the agreements we've reached have been pretty impressive. we've got about 3/4 of our schools now have observed the one with benches. anbeverages. it's lowered the content of benches in the schools. it's a pretty good reduction. and snack foods, it's about 41%. less. but still not in substantial.
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and we just made an agreement with a school food provider that serves 6,000 schools with meals to join us and the beverage and the snack food agreement. we also have finally made a real important breakthrough that deals directly with this health care reform issue. so i want you all to think about this when i describe it. if you don't know about it. and ask yourself whether it would be a good or a bad thing if this were part of health care reform. would it save money or not? these are the vexing questions that the congressional budget office has to come to terms with. in the face of all the people who like it the way it is, who will say if you do that, it really won't save you money. you tell me what you think. this past february the alliance for healthier generation announced our alliance health care initiative, a collaborative
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effort with the national medical association, leading insurers and employers to offer health benefits to children and families for prevention assessment and treatment of childhood obesity. it's the first time these groups have ever joined together. to have preventative care available on a broad scale and commit to actual benchmarks on unit lization -- utilization. that's a fancy way to say they promise to enroll more and more people every year until we get a bunch of people in this deal. and to systematically, while we're doing this, add to the science base on the impact and return on investment. that is, i don't mean anything that i have said so far ton at all frivolous about the challenge the congressional budget office faces in coming to grips with health care and trying to cost it out. but just to say that the defenders of the existing system almost always have the short end of the stick if experience is
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any guide it would be hard to spend more money and do less with it than we do. but i recognize that if you're sitting in that budget office, you've got to project to the future. so we're trying to really add to the science here on this little piece of prevention. now, all the insurer and the employer signers of this agreement which are pretty impressive, they include insurers like aetna, wellpoint, blue cross-blue shield of north carolina and blue cross-blue shield of massachusetts. and companies like our -- our first big company was pepsico. we have owings corning, lockheed martin, paychex, the houston independent school districts, nationwide children's hospital. and here's what they've all agreed to do. they have agreed to offer four visits with a primary care
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practitioner a year, with four advise dwroits a dietician a -- visits to a dietician a year for children of covered parents ages 3 to 18. this is just part of the normal benefit portfolio for children and youth. they've committed to a set of goals around the number of beneficiaries they hoped would use the benefits. we now have just almost a million kids being covered by this already, just in the last five months. and within the next couple of years we're trying to get it to 6.2 million which is what we think is the number necessary to cover 25% of all the overweight kids. in the country. in the age-group. so i'm not sure we can get there. but we're working at it. it's really impressive. so the first thing i want to do
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is to thank the employers and insurers who are part of this as well as the american academy of pediatrics and the american dietetic association who have signed on to support this. this is really, really important. the final thing that i would like to say is that all of you can do something about this. that's why we're here, right? and do i want you to lobby for health care reform? of course i do. i do want you to say in the end primary preventive actions will make us a healthier country and lower the cost of health care whether by the mathematical rules, now operative, you can't prove it or not? and don't strain at a gnat and swallow a cam snell of course i do. but keep in mind, most of us
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don't have a vote in congress or even our local legislatures. so we spend most of our time actually answering the how question as we can. i've got a big climate change project. went all the way to sweden the other day to give a speech this big european group. and all of these -- tony blair was there, and the great kenyan nobel prize winner, a great friend of hillary's and mine was there. and they were giving these passionate speeches about what should be in the new climate change agreement in a will be considered -- that will be considered in copenhagen. unfortunately as a anticlimax they asked me to close the meeting. i said, look, i love what they said. i love them. i love what they said. i agree with everything they said. i have nothing to add to it. i came all the way over here to tell you that unless you are going to copenhagen and you have
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a role there or you have a vote in your local legislative body, you should stop coming to these meetings. and go home and do something. do something. we are going to be tested by whether we do things that change people's lives. [applause] now, i don't feel that way about you because we haven't been doing this like we have in climate change for over a decade now where we've got to broadly -- we've got a broadly shared information base and the person running the local building retrofit building in a town of 50 million liable to know as much as a chairman in the congressional committee because we've been working on in a long time. we're just getting into this. so i do want you to keep sending people to meetings until we get more of a knowledge base, a shared knowledge base. but let's just think about the kind of things that still need
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to be done. we could better integrate obesity prevention with health and wellness and primary care by adding body mass index measurement to existing performance standards for well care visits for children. a couple of states have done that already. why shouldn't we just do that? as a matter of course. why wouldn't we benefit from having more data on it? why shouldn't obesity be recognized as a stand-alone condition to qualify for effective treatments for reimbursement more broadly? not just in the insurance plan that i mentioned. [applause] but generally. why shouldn't we take this obesity problem as a warning that we need to do a better job
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in america of considering health in all facets of our life? this is not just about going to the doctor's offices. it's about whether you have sidewalks when there are new real estate developments. we need to examine -- this really is the number one public health problem. we actually will start building houses again one day in america. i wish we had a national building code on clean energy, but i'd also like to think that we need to consider the impact of new developments on the public health. we need to consider the impact of new school buildings on the public health. so we need to work this into every aspect so that it's not just educators, it's community leaders, food and beverage people. i'll give you another example. why shouldn't some of the
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stimulus money be given out to communities that have particular problems here? why shouldn't some of the money for education be set aside for this and the cities that have big issues? why shouldn't some of the stimulus money for capital projects like roads be spent on the development of city parks and tourism or state parks and tourism divisions that will directly empower poor neighborhoods and poor groups to access exercise facilities to help combat this? why shouldn't this be part of the calculus as we go forward with capital investments and every state in the country? i know it may be hard to believe now because we only get bad news about state budgets, but the truth is that the federal stimulus gave money that at least cuts the crisis that states like my state, new york,
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face by about 50% and made it go away in some states that weren't in such bad shape. so if you got this money and it helped you, why shouldn't some of that money have to be invested in creating recreational opportunities for low-income people and urban areas who otherwise would not have it? what about ural areas -- when there are poor rural areas where there is a lot of obesity do we really know whether it is possible to organize any kind of affirmative health opportunities? do they have access to the same level of health information? as dr. freedman was providing in new york? do they have access to the same kind of exercise opportunities? there's a big rural obesity problem in america, you know that cuts right across racial
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lines. there have been a lot of genetic research that shows vulnerability to diabetes in particular has enormous racial disparities. with pacific islanders and native americans being the most vulnerable. african-americans the next. hispanic-americans the next. european-americans the next. that is given a constant diet and constant level of activity. but the vulnerability to obesity and its other consequences are quite broadly shared and in rural areas encompass people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds who live there. do we really understand how much harder it is for them to do some of this stuff than people in more densely populated area? and is there something we should do that specifically responds to that? i think that these things are really important. i think that some of you can
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answer these how questions better than i can right now. but i spend my life trying to answer these questions around the world in dealing with the problems of aids and malaria. we provide the lowest cost, high quality medicine in the world. all we did was change a business model. the low volume, high profit margin on certain business, now high volume, low margin, absolute business. people are now stay ago live, getting off these contracts. it was an answer to the how question. i think this is harder. because it goes right to the core of everything from the way we organize society to the way people who are just over the knife edge of need have to manage their own budgets to the incredible psychological
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pressures that are going on in people's lives to how our bodies react to the stuff that we can afford to take off the shelves. so we were all raised to believe in some way or another that an unexamined life is not worth living. we have to examine all of our lives now. and we have to examine the lives of our friends and neighbors who are so busy trying to keep body and soul together, pay their bills and take care of their kids that they do not have time to examine their lives and how they eat and purchase food and do things without some help. this is a deeply challenging and difficult thing. but it is, i believe, our number one public health problem and a test of whether we are really committed to go forward together, and not allow america to continue to be divided by
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accident of birth and the economic polarization which has gripped our country for more than 30 years now. can you do this. but nobody can do it alone. therefore we all have to go home here thinking about all the how questions, and how we can answer them. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> thank you very much. your words are well appreciated by the group here.
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>> thank you to all of our speakers and to president bill clinton. what an amazing way to open this conference. we are now concluded with our opening plannery. you have time for a break. i believe the concurrent sessions begin in about 10 minutes. thank you so very, very much for your participation this morning. >> today the senate judiciary committee votes on the nomination of sonya sotomayor to the supreme court, live 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3,
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c-span radio and c-span.org. and tour the home to america's highest court. "the supreme court court" this fall on c-span. .

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