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Solving childhood obesity with the “Let’s Move!” Campaign? - Food Pyramid
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Solving childhood obesity with the “Let’s Move!” Campaign?

By Luis Fernandez
Food Pyramid -

Solving childhood obesity with the “Let’s Move!” Campaign?The very catchy slogan for the Let’s Move! campaign says everything about first lady Michelle Obama’s mission to eradicate childhood obesity: America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids. The campaign is dedicated to “solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.”

This is not Michelle Obama’s first stint in healthcare, as she was formerly the vice-president of external affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center before she became the first lady of the United States.

“Make no mistake about it, we’re not just doing this for our kids today. We’re doing this for our grandchildren and for their children. But truly, that’s what we’ve always done in this country. See, that’s who we are. We’re the folks who struggle and sacrifice to leave something better for our kids. Ultimately, that’s what we’re aiming to do with Let’s Move!” – Michelle Obama, one year after the launch of the campaign.

The Launch of Let´s Move!

The Let’s Move! campaign was launched on February 9, 2010 as an initiative to eradicate childhood obesity. Michelle Obama authenticated the campaign on the same day the President, Barack Obama, commissioned the Task Force on Childhood Obesity, a memorandum to solve the problem of childhood obesity. The president enacted the task force as a way to support the first lady’s effort by creating a specific action plan and milestones needed to solve the problem of childhood obesity.

Childhood Obesity Facts

Most people don’t know that childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. Between 1980 and 1999 the childhood obesity rate tripled. Today, nearly one out of three children are either obese or over-weight.

On the Let’s Move! campaign website, childhood obesity is being blamed on the lack of physical activity, large portion sizes, fast foods, and too many snacks a day a lot of children consume. There is also the statement that in this generation, we are now eating 31 percent more calories than we were forty years ago.

Risks of Childhood Obesity

Obese children are generally at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The following problems can develop in obese children:

  • Heart Disease
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Social discrimination¹

Achieved Milestones

  1. Organizations’ Achievement of Nutrition Standards: In 2012, the following organizations announced major improvements to nutrition standards: Disney, the Department of Defense, Bird’s Eye, the Blue Cross Shield and the Partnership for a Healthier America.
  2. Organizations’ Achievement of Physical Activity: In 2012, the U.S. Olympic committee dished out their beginner athletic program for free. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association constructed street closings and called these areas “Play Streets” to enable children to be physically active freely. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition renewed its Challenge Youth Fitness Test.
  3. Mass Contribution of Resources: Organizations including the National League of Cities, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and KaBoom donated resources for the Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Councils initiative in their local communities.

The On-going Nine Initiatives (Current and Future Goals)

  1. Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Councils: Michelle Obama and her team came up with five main goals personalized for elected officials to commit to. The goals were created for elected officials to exercise their authority on the local constituents. They are: a) Start Early, Start Smart (helping early education providers to instill best nutrition and physical activity practices); b) My Plate, Your Plate (displaying MyPlate (USDA’s new food icon) graphic resources in government-controlled places where foods are served); c) Smart Servings for Students; d) Model Food Service (food service that aligns with USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans); e) Active Kids at Play.
  2. Chefs Move to Schools: matches volunteer chefs who care about helping people learn about good nutrition with schools and school district.
  3. Let’s Move Faith and Communities: to enable leaders in faith-based communities to promote healthy living for children.
  4. Let’s Move Outside: helps kids and their parents with ideas on what activities to do outdoors.
  5. Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens: for museums and gardens to promote knowledge of healthy food choices to their visitors through programs sponsored by the campaign.
  6. Let’s Move! In Indian Country: specifically for American Indian and Alaska natives to create healthy learning communities.
  7. Let’s Move! Childcare: for early education providers to make an impact on their children.
  8. Let’s Move! In the Clinic: for health practitioners to work with children and their families.
  9. Let’s Move Salad Bars 2 Schools: the challenge is for the enactment of 6,000 salad bars in schools.

1. Health Problems and Childhood Obesity. The Let’s Move! Campaign Page [Internet]. Available from: http://www.letsmove.gov/health-problems-and-childhood-obesity

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