Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM has tips for families to get involved in the program.
“In the end, as First Lady, this isn’t just a policy issue for me. This is a passion. This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama
I really admire and appreciate that we have a First Lady who is determined to tackle the tough issue of childhood obesity. This year, a new campaign was launched to protect, strengthen, and save our kids — and future generations to come. Obesity is something that affects our country in every way, yet, we are so used to it – and so numb to subtle day-by-day consequences that culminate over many years – that by the time we realize it’s a problem, it’s an expensive problem with physical and emotional repercussions. 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. 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 heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.
What is Let’s Move?
The Let’s Move! campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. Let’s Move! will combat the epidemic of childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that will engage every sector impacting the health of children and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy. The four pillars of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign are:
1. empowering parents and caregivers
2. providing healthy food in schools
3. improving access to healthy, affordable foods
4. increasing physical activity.
This problem can’t be solved just by passing laws in Washington. It’s going to take all of us—governors, mayors, doctors, nurses, businesses, non-profits, educators, parents—to tackle the challenge once and for all, so Let’s Move to end the epidemic of childhood obesity together.
How YOU Can Get Involved:
You can visit the Let’s Move website for more info as this initiative tackles food AND exercise in homes, communities and schools.
I recommend you start with one area. Let’s start with physical activity in your home; take it one, doable step at a time, so you’re more likely to stick with these new healthy habits… for a lifetime.
Let’s Move! tips to increase physical activity in kids:
• Give children toys that encourage physical activity like balls, kites, and jump ropes.
• Encourage children to join a sports team or try a new physical activity.
• Limit TV time and keep the TV out of a child’s bedroom.
• Facilitate a safe walk to and from school once a week.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Walk around the block after a meal.
• Make a new house rule: no sitting still during television commercials.
• Find time to spend together with a fun activity: family park day, swim day or bike day.
• Talk to the principal or write a letter to the district superintendent if you think there should be more physical education at school.
• Encourage schools to hold recess prior to lunch to encourage physical activity before mealtime.
• Volunteer to help with after-school physical activity programs or sports teams.
• Be sure that children get the sleep they need. Most children under age 5 need to sleep for 11 hours or more per day, children age 5 to 10 need 10 hours of sleep or more per day, and children over age 10 need at least 9 hours per day.
• Take part in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) program.
• Issue a family challenge to see who can be the first to achieve a “Presidential Active Lifestyle Award” by committing to physical activity five days a week, for six weeks. Adults and children can both receive the award! You and your kids can earn points for simple physical activities, then those points turn in awards (medals, bumper stickers, t-shirts etc).
For more info, visit: www.letsmove.gov
If you’d like to ask Melanie a question, visit our Ask-the-Expert page: studio5.ksl.com