When you receive an invitation to the White House for a discussion with Michelle Obama on her “Let’s Move” initiative, you drop everything and go. Yep, I went to Washington DC earlier this week for a whirlwind 24-hour trip that included a mini tour of “off-limits” rooms in the White House (so I’m told!) and an inspiring discussion with Michelle Obama, Dominique Dawes (yes, the Olympic gymnast), and other White House representatives and officials on the health of the nation’s kids.
To say it was a one of my bucket list items to visit the White House with an opportunity like this, is an understatement. It was a surreal experience that I wanted to share with you all.
With the approval to video in the White House (I’m still dying!), I filmed a short video of the rooms we toured, the White House grounds and how I may or may not have be scolded more than once for doing something not allowed, such as touching the grass. 🙂
Let’s Move Initiative
Did you know that 1 in 3 children in the US are considered overweight or obese? I don’t have to tell you that is an alarming statistic. Why is this happening? Well, today kids lead different lives than they did 30 years ago. Outside play has been replaced by video games. School recess has been cut short. Portion sizes are 2 – 5 times bigger.
In total, we are now eating 31 percent more calories than we were forty years ago–including 56 percent more fats and oils and 14 percent more sugars and sweeteners. The average American now eats fifteen more pounds of sugar a year than in 1970. – (Letsmove.org)
Something had to be done. Yet, it needs to be an ongoing discussion and we need action.
In 2010, the First Lady set out to do something about it with an initiative that she launched to help kids and families lead healthier lives.
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.” – First Lady Michelle Obama at the Let’s Move! launch on February 9, 2010
Here is what Let’s Move! is all about (according to LetsMove.org) –
Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices. Providing healthier foods in our schools. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. And, helping kids become more physically active.
Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including parents, elected officials from all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies. Your involvement is key to ensuring a healthy future for our children.
So six years after launching Let’s Move!, there is so much more to do but I’m excited to share the initiative’s progress with you…
- 1.6 million kids attend healthier daycare centers
- 2 million kids now have a Let’s Move! Salad Bar in their school
- Over 10 million kids attend Let’s Move! Active Schools where they strive to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day
- Over 30 million kids have access to healthier school meals
- Nearly 80 million people live in a Let’s Move! city, town, or county
- 200 corporate partners have made commitments for a healthier America
During the discussion at the White House with the First Lady, my favorite part of her talk, and what really hit home, was about our job as parents. She compared healthy eating to other daily activities that our children have to take part in like math homework and going to the dentist. What if your child came home and said they no longer wanted to do math homework? They just didn’t like math. Would you tell them, “It’s okay, honey, you don’t have to do math anymore”? Or what if they declared that they didn’t want to go to the dentist anymore because they basically didn’t like the dentist or didn’t want to brush their teeth? Would you simply tell your child that it was okay and the dentist would be cancelled and taking care of their teeth wasn’t a priority anymore? Of course not. Let’s not be ridiculous. So then WHY do we, as parents, not stand our ground and we basically fold like a house of cards so easily when it comes to healthy eating??
Sure, it’s not all parents, but many are caving so quickly when little Jimmy doesn’t want to eat his veggies. We need to stand our ground as parents and do what is right for our children. Their health depends on it! Every kid has a right to a healthy childhood and that starts with the parents. Plus, it is SO much more than just healthy eating. We have to get moving more.
Take the Pledge for Our Kids!
Take the #LetsMove pledge and join America’s move to raise a healthier generation of kids. More on the Let’s Move Pledge HERE.
You can learn much more information about the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative by visiting www.letsmovgov.
Overall, the morning at the White House was inspirational, amazing and unforgettable. Here are just a few more photos from my visit.