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Children's Health

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'Do Your Part,' Michelle Obama Says on 'Let's Move' First Anniversary

First Lady Calls for All Americans to Join Child Obesity Fight


"obesity" and "fun" are words not often used in the same sentence. WebMD asked Obama what she's doing to engage children.

"We need to make sure kids understand exercise is the secret code word for play," Obama said. "You don't have to join a sports league or run on a treadmill. For some, it is turning on the radio and dancing in the living room, or running with your pet. Exercise should be fun, and it will take all of us to send those messages. Then we will see more folks stepping up to engage kids."

Michelle Obama: Let's Move Achievements, Goals

Obama listed a number of things Let's Move has accomplished in its first year:

  • Expanded the "Healthier US School Challenge" program that awards schools for promoting nutrition and physical activity.
  • Began the "Chefs Move to Schools" program that has paired 2,000 professional chefs with schools to make healthier menus and prepare healthier foods.
  • Signed up more than 450 mayors and local officials for Let's Move Cities and Towns, a commitment to make and achieve a plan for local actions to fight child obesity.
  • Saw Congress pass the Hunger-Free Schools Act to improve the quality of school meals for millions of children.
  • Partnered with a wide range of businesses, sports leagues, and other groups. For example, Walmart has agreed to reduce the price of healthier foods.

But Obama also noted that her pet program has only just begun.

"There are many, many more things to do," she said. "There is still a long way to go. With one in three kids overweight or obese, we are nowhere near the finish line. ... This stuff is personal. This stuff is emotional. This is the stuff that keeps us awake at night."

In the coming months, Obama said Let's Move will try to:

  • Get more schools to "step up and give a hard look at the food our children get and the physical activity they get during the day."
  • Get hospitals and child care centers to pay more attention "to the nutrition and physical activity our kids are getting from the very beginning."
  • To involve more "families, businesses, educators, and anyone who has a stake in helping our children lead healthier, happier lives."
  • Put 6,000 salad bars in 6,000 schools.
  • Within seven years, eliminate "food deserts" in inner cities, where fresh foods are unavailable or too expensive.

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