NEW YORK (AP) – Former President Bill Clinton and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee joined with the American Heart Association on Tuesday in announcing a campaign to fight soaring rates of childhood obesity that they said could doom youngsters to heart disease, diabetes and shortened lifespans.

“The truth is that children born today could become part of the first generation in American history to live shorter lives than their parents because so many are eating too much of the wrong things and not exercising enough,” Clinton said.

Huckabee, Clinton’s fellow Arkansan, said he himself lost 110 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

“Two years ago I would not have been asked to be here today to speak to this issue, for the simple reason that I would have been about the worst role model you could have had,” he said. “My doctor sat me down and said if you don’t change your lifestyle you’re in the last decade of your life.”

Estimates are that 16 percent of U.S. children are obese and up to a third are overweight or obese.

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