At the American Diabetes Association’s 71st Scientific Sessions we were treated to an inspiring video from First Lady Michelle Obama about the Let’s Move and Choose My Plate campaigns. The First Lady is firmly behind the effort to make children healthier through activity and better food choices. With my daughter entering public school a year from now, I am very interested in how these initiatives will impact the exercise and nutrition she will receive at school. The Let’s Move program aims to get children more active, while Choose My Plate replaces the food pyramid and is designed to make nutritional guidelines easier. Today, let’s talk about the Let’s Move program specifically.
Working for a company dedicated to health, I see obesity numbers on a regular basis and they never cease to shock me. In just the past 30 years, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled, according to the White House. That means that one-third of the youth population is overweight or obese. In some communities, like African-American and Hispanic, the childhood obesity numbers increase to 40%, according to LetsMove.gov. For anyone living with diabetes, regardless of type, the figure that should stick out is that 33% of all children born after 2000 are likely to develop diabetes at some point in their life.
In simple terms, the Let’s Move campaign motivates children to get at least 60 minutes of vigorous play each day. The First Lady and Let’s Move program urge various organizations, like local city governments, schools, faith-based communities and even preschools, to get in on the effort. The campaign is asking schools to increase physical education time along with overall student activity throughout their school days.
At the end of the day, it comes down to individuals and leaders of smaller groups. Are preschools and preschool teachers going to make the effort to not simply play a video for their students? Are cities going to use their parks and recreations department to encourage residents to get active? Are school districts or individual teachers going to add in more physical activity to their students’ day?
This is an issue that impacts those in the diabetes community and in the general public. I applaud Mrs. Obama for making this the cornerstone of her efforts as First Lady. Now it’s our turn to put her plan into action. What are some ways you motivate the kids in your life to get 60 minutes of activity each day? Let us know in the comments below!