First Mama Says “Let’s Move”!

We predict that Michelle Obama’s all out initiative to fight childhood obesity, called “Let’s Move”, will mark a sea-change in our nation’s view of children’s health.

Motivated by concern about the health and fitness of her own daughters, as well as the growing bad news about kids all across the nation, the First Lady is on a mission.  The outrageous fact is that this new generation of Americans is headed for a unique ‘first’. They are on track to become the first generation that’s less healthy, with a shorter predicted lifespan, than their parents.

“Let’s Move” is a private-public partnership dedicated to four key principles:

* Providing the information parents need to make good decisions about family nutrition. This is the education piece that covers everything from improving nutritional information on food packaging, to encouraging healthcare providers to track BMI (body mass index) at medical visits, to developing public education campaigns through media partnerships.

* Getting healthier foods into schools. Through increased government funding and a commitment to revamping our school lunches, the program points to the importance of  schools as a place where food habits are formed.  Our kids consume more than half their calories during the school day, so the quality of those calories really matter.  The goal? Get the junk out and the green in.

*  Improving the availability and affordability of nutritious foods. Too many Americans live in inner-city areas where supermarkets have fled to more affluent neighborhoods, and have little access to healthy food.  “Let’s Move” includes initiatives to bring green grocers and supermarkets back to these “food deserts”.

* Increasing Physical Activity. All our kids need encouragement to move. Through organized sports, active games, or focused exercise, “Let’s Move” will partner with all the major sports leagues in the US to get kids off the couch and onto the field or court.

And “Let’s Move” isn’t just kid-stuff.  One thing we know for sure: it doesn’t work to try to change kids’ diets and habits without including the whole family.  We all have to get on board to reverse this scary trend.

In the words of the First Lady … “Ultimately, that’s what “Let’s Move” is all about. Not just making kids healthier, but strengthening families. And the beauty of it is that it’s not just another government program. It’s a series of important partnerships with the business community, nonprofits, and foundations. No one’s ever set the goal of ending childhood obesity in a generation before, but we’ve got momentum now, and we’re going to keep going.”

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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?

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