Regina Benjamin Leads the Fight Against Obesity

The Surgeon General talks about the broad federal fight.

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Regina Benjamin knows all too well that it's tough to make the time for exercise. Before becoming the nation's 18th surgeon general, Benjamin was a small business owner. She founded a rural healthcare clinic in Bayou La Batre, La., and struggled to keep it solvent, making house calls and seeing patients in a rented house after the clinic was devastated by hurricanes and fire. Those challenges inspired her to get her MBA, and work on efforts to fund healthcare for low-income rural residents.

As surgeon general, Benjamin is leading a broad federal effort to combat obesity. "We've done a good job of telling people they need to lose weight," Benjamin, 53, says. "The challenge is going to be getting people to [exercise] and enjoy it."

U.S. News & World Report senior writer Deborah Kotz talked with Benjamin about her early years in rural Alabama, how her own struggles with weight have guided her mission to promote healthy living, and what the government can do to help Americans get up and move.

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