RODALE NEWS, WASHINGTON, DC—In the gilded and cream State Dining Room of the White House, packed with guests seated in gold ballroom chairs and reporters pressed together in their slush- and salt-stained shoes, First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off her "Let's Move" campaign, an historic initiative that aims to do nothing less than eliminate childhood obesity in a generation. A daunting task, to say the least.
In a private conversation just before the program was announced, Sam Kass, White House Food Initiative coordinator, and one of the key players in the Let’s Move campaign, which was a year in the making, said, “This is huge.” And he is right.
Getting children to eat right and exercise more has been the stated goal of children's advocates, obesity specialists, pediatricians, sometimes even the federal government, not to mention parents, for at least two decades. All have failed. And today almost one-third of American children are either overweight or obese.
But this time maybe be different. Never before has the power of the White House been behind such a sweeping plan. Every sector of society is being engaged, including government leaders, educators, science and medical professionals, sports figures, mayors, businesses.
Yet Mrs. Obama is realistic about how difficult this reordering of society will be. “We know we won’t get there this year, or during this administration,” she said. “We know it’ll take a nationwide movement that continues long after we’re gone.”
Read on for details about the Let's Move campaign, and suggestions for helping your family stay at a healthy weight.