If you follow me on pretty much any form of social media, you know that on Tuesday I got to attend an awesome event at the White House. I was part of a group of about 150 bloggers who were invited to participate in “A Conversation on the Health of our Nation’s Children.”
As you might imagine, I was pretty excited to be invited and spent Monday evening frantically texting a couple of friends for fashion advice because, umm, my usual fitness attire was not going to be appropriate. Once I got the outfit settled, it was time to stress about whether or not the Metro would be running. (Thankfully it was that day and waited to do the big shut down the day after the event. Also, Beer Geek informed me later that it only takes 80 minutes to walk from our house to the White House. Useful information to know…)
Tuesday morning my commute actually went super smoothly (with the exception of the discovery that I was the only person in the house to not own an umbrella.) I arrived in plenty of time and was able to enjoy a bit of looking around and to meet a few bloggers I only knew online while we waited for the event to begin.
The event itself was phenomenal. We heard from quite a number of knowledgeable women, including Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Dominque Dawes, and a number of leaders from the USDA. Each woman shared about the program they are involved with, helping us to understand the goals of each piece of the Let’s Move program. We also got a cooking demo from Cris Comerford, the White House Executive Chef who showed us how to make a kale salad in a jar.
And then, of course, came the highlight – Michelle Obama spoke. She was wonderfully entertaining, informative and funny all at the same time.
So, what is Let’s Move! and what is it doing for America’s children?
From the Let’s Move! website:
Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices. Providing healthier foods in our schools. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. And, helping kids become more physically active.
With nearly 1 in 3 kids in America obese or overweight, something needs to change. Let’s Move! is working to improve the health of our children and, according to Michelle Obama, it’s working.
From her speech on Tuesday:
And as First Lady, I’ve seen the impact of this work on a national scale, as well. After so many years, childhood obesity rates have stopped rising, and rates for our youngest kids have actually started to fall. And I have no doubt that if we keep pushing forward on this issue, one day, we will look back on the food we used to feed our kids and it’ll be like looking back on the days when we didn’t wear seat belts or bike helmets or sunscreen. We’ll be like, “Man, can you believe we used to eat that stuff?”
Here are five programs that are helping to change the trends in the right direction:
- Let’s Move! Active Schools – This program’s goal is to get 60 minutes of daily physical activity the norm for schools. So far, more than 17,000 schools have enrolled in this.
- Let’s Move! Child Care – This program aims to bring about positive changes in child care settings by increasing physical activity, decreasing screen time, and bringing healthier food and drink into the setting.
- Let’s Move! Outside – This program is all about getting kids to play, whether at playgrounds or National Parks. Hand in hand with this is the National Park Service’s Every Kid in a Park initiative that gives every 4th grader and their family free access to federal parks. (Go to the website to get exact directions.)
- Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools – This program has one goal – get a salad bar into every school to provide access to healthy foods.
- Chefs Move to Schools- Chefs are encouraged to work with their local schools and provide hands on experience with how to use the garden’s bounty.
In addition to these programs, we learned about FNV, a fun branding program to market fruits and vegetables sponsored by the Partnership for a Healthier America. While still in the early stages, FNV (Eat your elfin’ Vees, people!), FNV’s twitter feed is filled with hilarious tweets about fruits and vegetables.
— Fruits and Veggies (@TeamFNV) December 17, 2015
We finished our day with a walk out to the White House Kitchen Garden. As you might imagine, the purpose of the garden is to provide fruits and vegetables to the White House chefs. In addition to providing food to events held at the White House, the garden has grown enough produce to allow for donation of almost 500 pounds of food to Miriam’s Kitchen, a local organization that helps feed DC’s homeless.
All in all, the event was a wonderful way to spend the day. I mean, a day at the White House would rock even if I was just sitting in a corner watching paint dry. Add in informative and interesting sessions and it was fabulous. As a mom and a runner, I came away not only inspired to be involved in the initiative, but ready to try harder with my kids to teach them how to make healthy choice.
Thank you to SheKnows and Blogher for allowing me to participate in this amazing experience. I had a fabulous time and learned a lot.