Let’s Move! A Comprehensive Initiative Helping Kids and Families Lead Healthier Lives
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40 percent of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.
Recognizing the importance of improving the health and well-being of our country’s most precious resource, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move! initiative in 2010. Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative dedicated to helping kids and families lead healthier lives. Through Let’s Move!, the First Lady has sparked and sustained a national conversation around healthy families and is enabling progress through lasting policy and public private partnerships.
And it’s working: childhood obesity rates have stopped rising, and we have seen an encouraging drop in obesity rates among children ages two to five years old. Across America, 1.6 million kids are now attending healthier daycare centers where fruits and vegetables have replaced cookies and juice, and more than 30 million kids are eating healthier school breakfasts and lunches. Nearly nine million kids attend Let’s Move! Active Schools, where they get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Restaurants are working to create healthier kids’ menus, and food and beverage companies cut 6.4 trillion calories from their products. Eighty million people now live in a Let’s Move! city, town or county where kids can walk to school on new sidewalks, participate in a summer meal program or join a local athletic league. Religious leaders are also teaching their congregations about healthy eating.
Despite this progress, more work remains to ensure every young person can lead a prosperous and productive life. Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity and improving child health, and physicians and health care providers play an important role in reaching families directly with messages on the importance of nutrition and physical activity for a healthier lifestyle.
Check out the Let’s Move! map on LetsMove.gov, to learn more about community programs and to get involved. The site also offers new ideas and tips to increase opportunities for kids to eat healthy and be active. Don’t forget to stay updated on our latest efforts and share your successes by liking “Let’s Move” on Facebook and following @LetsMove on Twitter.
Debra Eschmeyer is the executive director for Let’s Move! and senior policy advisor for nutrition for the White House. She spoke on the Let’s Move! program during ACC’s Population Health Policy retreat in July.
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