In what is shaping up to be this generation’s version of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign to fight the war on drugs, today Michelle Obama launches her much anticipated initiative to fight the war on childhood obesity. The program is simply called “Let’s Move,” an actionable name that speaks volumes about the goals of the first lady and the organization. It is the first lady’s goal to wipe-out childhood obesity in a generation, a necessity to preserve the health and wellness of our youngest Americans. A startling stat shared by Michelle is that this is the first generation that will not live as long as their parents.
During a launch interview with USA Today, the first lady made it clear why using Let’s Move as a catalyst to stop childhood obesity was vitally important.
“The statistics are clear and they are shocking, and I have cited them again and again: One in three kids in our nation today are (overweight or) obese, and that figure increases for African-American and Hispanic children,” she said.
Those statistics she sites, sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, look like this:
- 32% of kids aged 2-19 are overweight or obese
- 38% of Hispanic children are overweight or obese
- 36% of Black children are overweight or obese
- 29% of White children are overweight or obese
The Let’s Move campaign aims to provide assistance and guidance to parents to support their efforts in raising healthier children, work to provide healthier school lunches, and make healthy foods more accessible and affordable across the nation.
In a nation where 8-18 year-olds spend an average of 7.5 hours per day consuming entertainment media, like TV, movies, Internet, video games and cell phones, how are kids supposed to get the minimum 60 minutes of play each day when they’re texting? One way Michelle Obama plans to do this is to double the number of child participants in the President’s Active Lifestyle Challenge, which is being modernized to reflect overall physical activeness rather than athleticism.
The launch of this Let’s Move campaign is an exciting moment in what has been a time of increasing awareness and activism toward fighting childhood obesity. This is a legitimate problem, with legitimate consequences, but it can be changed and reversed. Children need fruits and vegetables – the real kind, not synthesized in a gummy snack or fruit punch. Children need less fast-food and more real food. Children need to get off the couch and play again. Our schools need to be a safe haven where children can receive the nutrition they need to grow, learn and fuel their active minds and bodies.
We applaud the first lady on having the vision to take on this epidemic and work toward educating the public and enacting change in a positive and proactive manner.
As Michelle Obama was heard saying at the launch of Let’s Move, “We need to quit quoting statistics and get going.”
We hope you’ll join the first lady, your children, and our nation in promoting a healthier lifestyle for our youngest Americans.
Learn more at LetsMove.gov.