msnbc | March 09, 2013
>>> the partnership for a healthier america held the national summit in washington this week. first lady michelle obama calling for better marketing of healthy foods. i spoke with the group's vice chair. cory booker about the childhood obesity epidemic. but first, i asked him if president obama 's dinner with senate republicans this week was too little too late.
>> dinner and breaking bread is always a good thing. but i know very specifically the president has been reaching out from day one. he's had coverage that's been given to meetings he's had with people in the gop getting into real discussions back in the debate. this president's gone a long way. and he's just not going to stop. he's going to continue to find creative ways to reach across the aisle. and i'm happy to see this having some success the mandate given by the american people that really supported the president's vision. it's the spirit of washington they need right now. there was a lot of fear drummed up. how do you expect it to affect you? it is affecting us. it may not be dramatic right now. when i talked to the u.s. attorney 's office who is one of my partners in fighting crimes and having to deliver furlough notices to employees, that's going to weaken our ability to partnerships that create safety in my community. everybody agreed from the right to the left even independent economists that this is a bad way to go about budget cutting. it is blunt, brutal and blind and not the way you would have done it if people had come together in an intelligent fashion to figure out the best way to reduce government.
>> let's talk about this initiative that you're working on for childhood obesity , partnership for a healthier america. just how bad is this problem?
>> it's no longer a problem. it's an epidemic. it is eating away at the core of our country and our destiny, our future because it's undermining our kids ' lives in dramatic fashion. childhood obesity has increased about threefold since -- in the last 30 years amongst our children stealing their lives away. really, tens of billions of dollars we're spending now on juvenile health care costs that we don't have to spend that we didn't have this problem. more than that, obesity leads to lower performance in school, long-term productivity, and the world on a global knowledge based economy, where how much you earn is based upon how much you learn, this has potential of very damaging things for individual lives and gdp growth in the future. especially right now the economists are saying this is impacting our economy in terms of trillions of dollars.
>> we have the new york city mayor michael bloomberg . he's got the large soda ban that goes into effect next week. do you think that's the right tactic to save people from themselves?
>> well, look, i am a bloomberg fan. here's a guy that is dealing with gun violence, infrastructure problems, global warming . he is -- when it comes to mayor, he is the chief provocateur in this country saying i'm not going to stand idly by and watch the health of my kids deteriorate rapidly. the question is what are we going to do? i'm not taking on the same tactics he's taking, but i see the same urgency. let's stop criticizing people for stepping out. we may disagree with his tactics, but the first question we should ask ourselves is, hey, he's trying to solve a problem. what is my alternative? it's not enough to say, hey, we should just have our parents make better choices. well, when a parent lives in a food desert and doesn't have access to healthy options and only has bodegas with sugary foods and sugar water , we have the responsibility to end these food deserts. well, if they don't have safe playgrounds and recreational spaces, we as a community have to do something. so god bless mayor bloomberg . not what i would do, but at least he's forcing the issue and the question and more of us are talking about it because as i see it, what do we need to be drinking these gallon drums of sugary drinks? these are the habits we've gotten into that our grandparents, they didn't do these kind of things. we've lost our food culture in this country and it's time for somebody to declare a food fight and say, hey, we're going to fight for more healthy access to foods, fight for more urban gardens , to empower parents to make good decisions.
>> well, if that interview's any indication, appears childhood obesity could be a big platform for mayor booker's likely senate run in 2014 . he says he won't announce his campaign, though, until after the upcoming new jersey governor's election.