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Pediatrician Judith S. Palfrey, MD, FAAP, Named Executive Director of First Lady's Let's Move! Initiative

Pediatric Preventive Care Expert Will Further Strengthen Anti-Childhood Obesity Campaign
Washington, DC—The White House announced today that American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Immediate Past President Judith S. Palfrey, MD, FAAP is the new executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. The AAP is a national partner of Let’s Move! and Dr. Palfrey previously joined the first lady at the White House on February 9, 2010 for the launch of campaign.

The AAP is committed to eliminating the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States, and commends First Lady Michelle Obama for focusing national attention on this staggering health burden plaguing our nation’s youth. The four pillars of the Let’s Move! initiative—expanding efforts to make schools healthy environments for all children, increasing children’s physical activity, improving the affordability and accessibility of foods, and empowering consumers to make healthier choices—support proven early interventions that the AAP recommends to help keep children healthy.

“Over the past 20 years, our nation has seen an alarming rise in the number of our children who are overweight and obese. It will take a continued concerted effort and thoughtful collaboration to create healthier communities for children,” said O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, AAP president. “Dr. Palfrey has spent her career advocating for the health and well-being of children. She brings a wealth of clinical, research and practice expertise, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of preventive health and promotion. The AAP has had the privilege of drawing upon this expertise for many years, and wishes her much success in this important new role. She is the ideal candidate for the job.”

Dr. Palfrey is the T. Berry Brazelton Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Her distinguished tenure at Harvard Medical School includes not only treating thousands of children, but pioneering the field of guidelines for pediatric preventive medical care, having led the development of the first set of comprehensive pediatric health oversight guidelines. Dr. Palfrey has served as chair of the AAP Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, president of the Academic Pediatric Association, director of Building Bright Futures, and national program director of the Dyson Community Pediatrics Initiative.

Dr. Palfrey will take leave as Director of the Children's International Pediatric Center at Children's Hospital in Boston and as master of Adams House at Harvard College. She has written five books, including Community Child Health and Child Health in America, and more than 100 articles dealing with improving child health systems.

As she takes on this new role, Dr. Palfrey will step down from her leadership role at AAP to devote her time and energy to working with the First Lady to continue turning the tide of childhood obesity.  AAP looks forward to collaborating with her and the First Lady’s office on this critical issue impacting our children’s health.

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