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The Week in News: Obesity Rises, Hoyer Defends Safety Net

This week, as national jobless claims rose by 100,000, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a renewed focus on the state’s economy and job creation. And while reports pointed to increasing rates of obesity and a decline in healthy eating, First Lady Michelle Obama joined grocery chains to announce a national initiative to expand access to healthy food.

Gov. Cuomo says jobs, economy will be focus, AP, 7/19/11
Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he’ll focus his attention for the next six months on invigorating the state’s economy, including an international ad campaign that he said will rival the iconic I Love New York ads that began decades ago. The top goal, he said, is “Jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Hoyer against cuts to entitlement programs, The Hill, 7/20/11
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said it was the consensus of Democrats to oppose any benefit cuts under Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as lawmakers haggle over how to hike the debt limit and rein in deficit spending.

Jobless Claims Rise By 10,000 To Seasonally Adjusted 418,000, Reuters, 7/21/11
New claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, a government report showed on Thursday, pointing to a labor market that is struggling to regain momentum after job growth faltered in the last two months.

CDC finds sharp rise in obesity, state-by-state, USA Today, 7/19/11
CDC data from the National Nutrition Health and Examination Survey in which people are weighed and measured indicates that about 34% of U.S. adults, almost 73 million people, are obese. "We're going to have to see changes in behavior before we see changes in the prevalence of obesity," says Sherry, a CDC epidemiologist. These changes include providing access to healthy food options.

First Lady teams up with grocers nationwide, USA Today, 7/20/11
National chains, including Wal-Mart, Walgreens and SuperValu, and some regional retailers have agreed to open or expand more than 1,500 stores to bring more nutritious and fresh food to underserved communities.

As Black Unemployment Climbs, Healthy American Eating Declines, Huffington Post, 7/17/11
Some 4.5 million Americans are eating less-healthy food this year than they were a year ago, according to a Gallup Poll released in June, a trend that appears to go hand in hand with diminished spending power.

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