Public Health

First Lady Seeks Change On Childhood Obesity

First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the details of her plan to fight childhood obesity today.

President Barack Obama signs a memorandum on childhood obesity while First Lady Michelle Obama looks i i

hide captionPresident Barack Obama signs a memorandum on childhood obesity while First Lady Michelle Obama looks on.

(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)
President Barack Obama signs a memorandum on childhood obesity while First Lady Michelle Obama looks

President Barack Obama signs a memorandum on childhood obesity while First Lady Michelle Obama looks on.

(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

The outline for the "Let's Move" initiative comes almost two weeks after Mrs. Obama first announced the campaign against childhood obesity. As Kevin Whitelaw wrote for Shots then, Mrs. Obama talked publicly about her own experience as a mother dealing with warning signs about her daughters' weight.

In a speech given at the launch of "Let's Move" today, the first lady pulled on this experience once more:

It wasn't that long ago that I was a working mom....And there were some nights when everyone was tired and hungry, and we just went to the drive-thru because it was quick and cheap, or went with one of the less healthy microwave options, because it was easy.

Her family started down an unhealthy path. But she was encouraged by what a big difference some small changes could make, such as walking to school and drinking water or skim milk instead of soda. "Things like this can mean the difference between being healthy and fit or not," she said.

She may want to add turning off the TV and getting enough sleep, to that list. But, it does seem that little changes in routine can have a big effect.

The first lady went on to outline a path for change. "I'm talking about commonsense steps we can take in our families and communities to help our kids lead active, healthy lives," she said. The "Let's Move" initiative will focus on four "key" components: helping parents make healthy choices for their family, serving quality food in schools, improving access and affordability of healthy foods all around, and increasing physical activity for kids.

To achieve such goals, a new independent foundation, Partnership for a Healthier America, is being formed by a number of leading, existent health care foundations and childhood obesity non-profits. It is meant to support and forward existing efforts addressing childhood obesity in America.

"Let's Move" hopes "to take families out of their isolation and give them nationwide support that they need... to get their kids on track to lead healthier lives," Mrs. Obama says. Let's hope it works fast, because the initiative has set a lofty national goal: solving childhood obesity within a generation.

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