by Allison Knott
“In the end, as First Lady, this isn’t just a policy issue for me. This is a passion.
This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food, nutrition, and physical activity.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama as quoted on LetsMove.gov
This quote defines what the First Lady hopes to achieve with the Let’s Move campaign. Let’s Move! is a childhood obesity initiative, started by First Lady Michelle Obama in February 2010 that takes a multi-dimensional approach to tackling the obesity problem. The campaign aims to mobilize individuals, corporations, community groups and food companies to make the changes necessary to improve the health of American children. In an anniversary video posted on the campaign’s website, The First Lady acknowledges that at the beginning of the campaign, many were unsure that Let’s Move could impact childhood obesity. At the time, many believed fighting this epidemic was a lost cause. Yet, a year later, First Lady Obama optimistically reports the Let’s Move campaign is in fact making a difference.
According to the First Lady, the Healthier US School Challenge expanded during the past year as a result of being part of the Let’s Move! campaign. This program, active since 2004, awards monetary incentives to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program who actively promote nutrition and physical activity. The Chefs Move to Schools program, which is a part of Let’s Move!, pairs renowned chefs with schools across the country to promote nutrition in the school environment. She also reports that over 450 mayors and elected officials have signed up to be a part of the Let’s Move Cities & Towns initiative – a program that encourages cities and towns to develop sustainable solutions to the obesity problem. The First Lady says the campaign has helped to initiate a “shift in the national conversation” about childhood obesity and nutrition, but emphasizes that there is still plenty of work to be done.
In addition to promoting nutrition and physical activity among the nation’s children, the First Lady has also raised awareness within the private sector about nutrition. Most notably, she supported the Wal-Mart plan to make the foods sold in their stores more healthful. She also encouraged the food industry to develop a new front-of-pack labeling system to make it easier for consumers to make healthful choices. Overall, the First Lady’s initiative and Let’s Move has truly made strides in the fight against childhood obesity and has brought much-needed attention to nutrition and physical activity issues. Congratulations on an impressive first year and we look forward to seeing what Let’s Move accomplishes in the years to come.
Allison Knott has been a registered dietitian since 2008 and was previously employed in a hospital in Georgia. She is currently pursuing a master of science in Nutrition Communication. Her passion is to communicate accurate and sound nutrition information to the general public.