In a JTA op-ed piece focused on the Jewish community's efforts to resolve problems with child nutrition, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urged Jewish Community Centers to participate in the JCC Association program JCC Grows. "The Jewish Community Centers of North America is a Let’s Move! partner and promised the first lady that it would expand its community gardens throughout the country. JCCs are encouraged to join the effort to end childhood obesity and hunger through the establishment of community gardens and donation of a percentage of their respective harvests, an updated version of the commandment to glean the edges of one’s fields for the widow and the orphan."
Vilsack points out that childhood obesity is at an all-time high and threatens the health of the nation as well as its global competitiveness. When 30 percent of American children are overweight or obese, fewer are eligible for military service or fit enough for physically demanding jobs. Obese children are at much greater risk of being obese as adults, with all the associated health problems--diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.