The First Lady’s big push to end childhood obesity, Let’s Move!, turned 4 yesterday! On Wednesday I had an opportunity to speak with Executive Director of Let’s Move!, Sam Kass, about the program and where they want the program to go in the future! The childhood obesity rate has decreased since the start of the program and this is something they want to keep going in the future. It’s the gift that keeps giving!
Childhood obesity is something that weighs heavily on my heart! I was always the “bigger” kid growing up and it was cool back then, but when I started to age into my teenage years being the big kid turned into being the “fat” kid! I am very glad Michelle Obama decided to make this her issue and is using her power for good!
At the launch of the initiative, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the first-ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity to conduct a review of every single programs and policies relating to child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national action plan to maximize federal resources and set concrete benchmarks toward the First Lady’s national goal. The Task Force recommendations focus on the five pillars of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative:
- Creating a healthy start for children
- Empowering parents and caregivers
- Providing healthy food in schools
- Improving access to healthy, affordable foods
- Increasing physical activity
Lots of things were discussed in this conversation but two things stood out to me: providing healthy meals at school and the 60 minutes of play. Mr. Kass mentioned that products that couldn’t be eaten at school wouldn’t be able to be marketed in the schools. I remember in high school there was a huge push for Surge. There was a huge marketing campaign for it and the company gave it out at lunch and passed out 2-liters after school. When I heard Mr. Kass talking about marketing, this was the first thing that came to my mind. People were going nuts over this soda which was loaded with calories and sugar! I probably wouldn’t have tried Surge if it wasn’t for the marketing push in my own school cafeteria. This is the kind of things that go on in schools!
Now to the 60 minutes of play! I think this is a great idea because EVERYONE needs to get active and this is a good time for families to get together to be active together. Notice it says play and not working out? It’s important to emphasize the play because we don’t want 6 year olds talking about hitting the gym, right? It’s supposed to be fun so kids want to do it instead of dreading doing a “workout”. Mr. Cass also pointed out that the three hours after school are a critical time for a child. If a child isn’t involved in after school activities this is a time where a child can get into more things such as unhealthy snacking or just sitting stagnant at home. These are the important times for a child so maybe parents should focus on this time after school for healthier and active options for their children.
I have to brag on my community for a minute!
How awesome is this? This is the daughter of a colleague of mine. She is setting a great example for the kids at the school and pushing them to new limits! She is really making a difference in these kids life and giving them a gift they will hopefully share with their kids when they start families! And of course, there is the Gusher Marathon which is giving these kids something to work for throughout the year. The Gusher is a BIG event around here that is inclusive of everyone who wants to participate. The organizers and volunteers are really great people and that is reflected in this event! There’s still time to register if you want to come experience Southeast Texas at it’s finest!
This is what Let’s Move! is all about and I’m glad that it’s happening right here in my hometown!
So how do you keep the kids your life active and eating healthy? Your answers might help some others along the way!