First Lady Michelle Obama has been seen recently making TV appearances doing push- ups on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, exercising with Late Night’s Jimmy Fallon at the White House and feeding vegetables to a reluctant Jay Leno as her Let’s Move initiative turns 2 years old this week. Like many First Ladies before her—Laura Bush with her reading initiative, Nancy Regan with her Just Say No to Drugs, First Lady Michelle Obama has carved out her own special brand in promoting healthy eating to combat childhood obesity.
Mrs. Obama and her Let’s Move Initiative are waging a battle against childhood obesity that causes many children and teenagers to suffer from debilitating diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, normally reserved for older adults. Despite criticism from those who think children should be able to eat whatever they choose and whenever they choose without any regard for their health, childhood obesity has become a national security issue. More than one quarter of our nation’s 17-24 year olds are now too overweight to serve in the US military. Of those who are able to join the military, the Department of Defense spends over one billion per year on medical care related to excess weight and obesity.
This week, in celebration of Let’s Move 2 year anniversary, First Lady Michelle Obama travels to Iowa, where a move is affront to make Iowa the healthiest state in the country by 2016. Combining her love of supporting military families, First Lady Obama visits the Little Rock Air Force base where the Air Force is part of a special pilot that will improve the nutrition of food served throughout military bases. She will also hit Texas and its Dallas Independent School District – a national leader in making healthy changes for its students. Combining faith with healthy eating, First Lady Obama launched Let’s Move: Faith and Communities in November, 2010 to help congregations provide healthy food and exercise activities to their congregations.
Commitments from Darden, one of the largest full service restaurants which owns, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse and many others, has agreed to make changes to and improve kid’s menus by reducing calories and sodium. In addition to restaurants, chefs across the country are stepping up and signing onto to Chefs Move to Schools, helping to assist in making healthier school meals.
It will take years long after Mrs. Obama leaves the White House before the benefits of her Let’s Move program pays off. But her Let’s Move program is catching on—slowly but surely. As our children are our future, the first lady is doing all she can to ensure our children have a brighter future with Let’s Move.