By Riley Andersen
First lady Michelle Obama is kicking off the third year of her Let’s Move! initiative this week with a two-day national tour that includes a stop at McCormick place in Chicago on Thursday. The tour will promote the progress of the last two years and announce new ways to battle childhood obesity.
Along with Obama will be Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Nike, Inc. President and CEO Mark Parker, Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, Bob Harper, Bo Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Sarah Reinertsen, Paul Rodriguez, Serena Williams, a surprise musical guest and thousands of Chicago area teachers and students. The event is hosted by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Since it’s inception in 2010, the program has focused on educating kids and parents about how to make better diet choices, along with teaching them the importance of being active, and taking care of themselves, while finding a way to ensure that every family has access to healthy and affordable food. This year, the task force on childhood obesity has a goal—see the childhood obesity rate drop below 5 percent by 2030.
Childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades. Maintaining this pattern of unhealthy eating and absence of physical activity, one third of children born after the year 2000 will suffer from diabetes. Today, we are eating 31 percent more calories, along with 15 pounds more sugar than we were 40 years ago.
The Let’s Move! initiative suggests that it is not only parents that are going to change things. With the help of friends, family, elected officials at every level of government, schools, healthcare professionals, religious-based and community based organizations, and private sector companies, childhood obesity can be beaten.