A Quick Look at Let's Move

Michelle Obama's Childhood Obesity Initiative receives kudos from the American Dietetic Association.

Joan Westlake

HealthKey.com contributor

March 22, 2010


A flurry of support and acclaim followed First Lady Michelle Obama's February announcement of an initiative on childhood obesity called Let's Move]. Using a four-pronged strategy, the program's ambitious goal is to solve the problem of childhood obesity within one generation.

Among those applauding Let's Move is registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association President Jessie M. Pavlinac. She released a statement in support of the new White House initiative and pledged to keep the First Lady informed of the work of ADA and its members. Adding their organizations' support are Tom Cove, president of The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, and James Pivarnik, president of the American College of Sports Medicine. Educational groups giving their thumbs up include the American Association of School Administrators, the Council of the Great City Schools and the National School Boards Association.

Let's Move addresses the disturbing fact that more than one-third of American children are overweight. Obesity rates tripled in the past 30 years, putting American children at risk for having a shorter expected lifespan than their parents.

The four main elements of the First Lady's Let's Move initiative are:

1. Ensuring access to healthy, affordable food.

More than 23 million American live more than a mile from a grocery store. Grants are targeted to bring farmer's markets into these areas and the Healthy Food Financing Initiative provides funds for supermarkets to expand into these underserved communities.

2. Increasing physical activity in schools and communities.

Children need at least an hour of vigorous activity each day. This Spring, Let's Move will unveil specialized tool kits and strategies to help kids reach that goal instead of spending more than seven hours a day on sedentary entertainment such as video games, television, movies, cell phones and computers.

3. Providing healthier food in schools.

With many children consuming half their daily calories at school, it is vital that the food available is healthy and nutritious. The Healthier US Schools Challenge Program establishes rigorous standards for schools' food quality, participation in meal programs, physical activity and nutrition education.

4. Empowering parents.

Information and simple tools are being developed for parents to make healthy choices for their families. Parents should check back at LetsMove.gov in the spring for toolkits including an interactive family contract to set goals, pick activities and track success.