Tuesday, June 28, 2022

First Lady Michelle Obama Launches Let’s Move: America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids

(NDG Wire) First Lady Michelle Obama announced last week an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight and unveiled a nationwide campaign – Let’s Move – to help achieve it. 

The Let’s Move campaign will combat the epidemic of childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that builds on effective strategies, and mobilizes public and private sector resources.  To support Let’s Move and facilitate and coordinate partnerships with States, communities, and the non-profit and for-profit private sectors, the nation’s leading children’s health foundations have come together to create a new independent foundation – the Partnership for a Healthier America – which will accelerate existing efforts addressing childhood obesity and facilitate new commitments towards the national goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese.  One third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives; many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. A recent study put the health care costs of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion per year.  This epidemic also impacts the nation’s security, as obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.

First Lady Michelle Obama

“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” said Mrs. Obama.  “This isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved overnight, but with everyone working together, it can be solved.  So, let’s move.” 

Let’s Move is comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented and will include strategies to address the various factors that lead to childhood obesity.  It will foster collaboration among the leaders in government, medicine and science, business, education, athletics, community organizations and more.  And it will take into account how life is really lived in communities across the country – encouraging, supporting and pursuing solutions that are tailored to children and families facing a wide range of challenges and life circumstances.

President Barack Obama kicked off the launch by signing a Presidential Memorandum creating the first ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity.  Within 90 days, the Task Force will review every single program and policy relating to child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national action plan that maximizes federal resources and sets concrete benchmarks toward the First Lady’s national goal. 

While the review is underway, Administration and public and private efforts are already moving to combat obesity and reach the First Lady’s national goal:   

Helping Parents Make Healthy Family Choices
Parents play a key role in making healthy choices for their children and teaching their children to make healthy choices for themselves. Let’s Move will offer parents the tools, support and information they need to make healthier choices for their families: 

Empower Consumers:   By the end of this year, the Food and Drug Administration will begin working with retailers and manufacturers to adopt new nutritionally sound and consumer friendly front-of-package labeling.   

Provide Parents with a Rx for Healthier Living:    The American Academy of Pediatrics, in collaboration with the broader medical community, will educate doctors and nurses across the country about obesity, ensure they regularly monitor children’s BMI, provide counseling for healthy eating early on, and, for the first time ever, will even write a prescription for parents laying out the simple things they can do to increase healthy eating and active play.

Major New Public Information Campaign:   Major media companies – including the Walt Disney Company, NBC, Universal and Viacom – have committed to join the First Lady’s effort and increase public awareness of the need to combat obesity through public service announcements (PSAs), special programming, and marketing.  

Next Generation Food Pyramid:  MyPyramid.gov is one of the most popular websites in the federal government, and a 2.0 version of the Web site will offer consumers a host of tools to help them put the Dietary Guidelines into practice. 

Empower Change:  USDA has created the first-ever interactive database – the Food Environment Atlas – that maps healthy food environments at the local level across the country.        

LetsMove.gov:  To help children parents, teachers, doctors, coaches, the non-profit and business communities and others understand the epidemic of childhood obesity and take steps to combat it, the Administration has launched a new “one-stop” shopping website — LetsMove.gov — to provide helpful tips, step-by-step strategies for parents, and regular updates on how the federal government is working with partners to reach the national goal.

Serving Healthier Food in Schools: Many children consume as many as half of their daily calories at school. With more than 31 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 11 million participating in the National School Breakfast Program, good nutrition at school is more important than ever.   

Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act: The Administration is requesting an historic investment of an additional $10 billion over ten years starting in 2011 to improve the quality of the National School Lunch and Breakfast program, increase the number of kids participating, and ensure schools have the resources they need to make program changes, including training for school food service workers, upgraded kitchen equipment, and additional funding for meal reimbursements.  With this investment, additional fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products will be served in our school cafeterias and an additional one million students will be served in the next five years.   

Double the number of schools participating in the Healthier US School Challenge:  The Healthier US School Challenge establishes rigorous standards for schools’ food quality, participation in meal programs, physical activity, and nutrition education – the key components that make for healthy and active kids – and provides recognition for schools that meet these standards.  

New Commitments from Major School Food Suppliers:  Major school food suppliers including Sodexho, Chartwells School Dining Services, and Aramark have voluntarily committed to meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations within five years to decrease the amount of sugar, fat and salt in school meals; increase whole grains; and double the amount of produce they serve within 10 years.   

Accessing Healthy, Affordable Food: More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket. These communities, where access to affordable, quality, and nutritious foods is limited, are known as food deserts.  Lack of access is one reason why many children are not eating recommended levels of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And food insecurity and hunger among children is widespread. 

The Administration, through new federal investments and the creation of public private partnerships, will: 

Eliminate Food Deserts Within Seven Years:  As part of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget, the Administration announced the new Healthy Food Financing Initiative – a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services that will invest $400 million a year to help bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options.   

Increase Farmers Markets: The President’s 2011 Budget proposes an additional $5 million investment in the Farmers Market Promotion Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture which provides grants to establish, and improve access to, farmers markets.

Increasing Physical Activity: Children need 60 minutes of active play each day.  Yet, the average American child spends more than 7.5 hours a day watching TV and movies, using cell phones and computers, and playing video games, and only a third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity. 

Expanding and Modernizing the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge:  In the coming weeks, the President will be naming new members to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, housed at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The council will be charged with increasing participation in the President’s Challenge and with modernizing and expanding it, so that it is consistent with the latest research and science.

Doubling the Number of Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards:  As part of the President’s Physical Fitness Council, the President will challenge both children and adults to commit to physical activity five days a week, for six weeks.  As part of the First Lady’s commitment to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation, the Council will double the number of children in the 2010-2011 school year who earn a “Presidential Active Lifestyle Award” for meeting this challenge. 

Safe and Healthy Schools: The U.S. Department of Education will be working with Congress on the creation of a Safe and Healthy Schools fund as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Education Act this year.  This fund will support schools with comprehensive strategies to improve their school environment, including efforts to get children physically active in and outside of school, and improve the quality and availability of physical education.

Professional Sports: Professional athletes from twelve leagues including the NFL, MLB, WNBA, and MLS have joined the First Lady on the Let’s Move campaign and will promote “60 Minutes of Play a Day” through sports clinics, public service announcements, and more to help reach the national goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity in a generation.

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