Today, First Lady Michelle Obama took her Let’s Move initiative to the next level by launching Let’s Move Faith and Communities, an effort to more actively engage faith-based and community organizations to help combat childhood obesity.
“All of you know how to empower people and empower them to make positive changes in their lives and for their families,” noted the First Lady. Joining Mrs. Obama in the launch were representatives of several national faith-based and community organizations, all of whom are already familiar with “the epidemic of childhood obesity in America today.”
Noting that one in three children in this country is either overweight or obese, Mrs. Obama related to launch participants by noting that “you’ve seen what’s happened when unhealthy children grow up to be unhealthy adults, struggling with issues like diabetes and heart disease.” Her commitment is real, and very heartfelt. The First Lady is looking to change lives, one person at a time.
Let’s Move Faith and Communities is designed to support grassroots efforts at ending childhood obesity. Mrs. Obama said that she “wants to work with leaders and learn from them, and help them learn from each other.” To these ends, Let’s Move is offering a new tool kit on its website specifically geared toward helping faith-based efforts at weight loss.
“We want to make sure that we’re having a real and measurable impact on our kid’s lives,” said Mrs. Obama. It’s for this reason that the Let’s Move initiative is all about setting goals and tracking progress.
In explaining the rationale behind the Faith and Community push by Let’s Move, Mrs. Obama noted that “we’ve known for a very long time that getting the message to the communities happens by getting the message to [faith-based and community leaders]. “This is a very critical issue not just for our children today, but for the future leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
The Let’s Move Faith & Community challenge entails four core components:
- Walking a total of 3 million miles nationwide;
- Completing 500,000 President’s Active Lifestyle awards or exercise programs;
- Hosting 10,000 community gardens or farmer’s markets around the country; and
- Hosting 1,000 new summer feeding sites around the country.
To achieve these goals, more than 50 organizations from across the country have joined ranks with the First Lady and her Let’s Move initiative in order to help get parents and children active and engaged in the battle toward a healthier lifestyle.
Bishop Angel Nunez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference proclaimed his organization’s commitment to promoting ‘Protemplo’ – an effort at increasing physical and spiritual health among Latinos – and embraced this new Let’s Move campaign by pledging the support of the 30,000 NHCLC churches over the next 20 months to take part in various challenge activities.
Denise Hunter of the First AME church of Los Angeles, noted that Let’s Move Faith and Community “is the right thing to do in addressing the obesity epidemic in California.” She described a 45 minute exercise break during worship services as just one of the ways that AME churches on the west coast are trying to combat obesity. Their goal, she said, is to help people make the “connection between their faith walk and being physically fit.”
In addition to applauding their commitment to Let’s Move, Mrs. Obama thanked the leadership who participated in today’s launch for the work they’ve done thus far in supporting the Child Nutrition Act. She also said that she’s hopeful “that Congress will vote on and pass this bill before they leave for the holidays.”
To help jump start the Faith and Community campaign, Mrs. Obama will host, early next year, a special Faith and Communities Let’s Move event at the White House.