An initiative by the First Lady Michelle Obama, Let’s move was launched in the year 2010. It is a comprehensive effort with the intention of solving the problem of childhood obesity in America. The target group is within a generation and the ultimate aim is to create a healthy future for the children and to facilitate environments that support the same lifestyle choices. As the founder put it on the campaign launch on February 9, 2010 – “The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”
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In the wake of the rising obesity rates among the American kids, the program has come at a time of a much needed reform as the same children face the threat of diseases like diabetes, chronic asthma, high blood pressure and even cancer. In Hispanic and African communities, the amount of overweight or obese children is found to be at an alarming 40% as reported by letsmove.gov. The reasons as pointed out by the team working with the First Lady in service to this initiative are genetic factors, changing lifestyles, reduced mobility, erratic eating and sleeping patterns, inadequate physical activity and energy intake and even a tendency to turn into a couch potato. The stats go as high as an increase of 31% increase in the calorie intake, 56% for fats and oils and 14% in the sugar consumptions as compared to the habits forty years ago. With a well-laid out plan and an action agenda prepared just as strategically, the aim is to work through “a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative that addresses all of the various factors that lead to childhood obesity [. . .] engaging every sector of society that impacts the health of children to provide schools, families and communities the simple tools they need to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.” The President hopes to bring down the obesity level in America to a nominal 5% by the year 2030.
The implementation of the program is centred on four main schemes.
- Increasing Parental Awareness and Access- By offering the parents with the right information for their child’s health and the improving the accessibility of tools for the same, the child would be in as safe a place as could be created. If the child is taught at home, the learning would not only sustain but would have a greater impact. The program also plans to collaborate with the American Academy of Paediatrics to encourage BMI checks at well-child visits amongst families. The provision of a well informed front-of-package food labelling hopes to make the expected changes in the everyday food of households.
- Improving School Food Quality –The President has funds separated to contribute to the schools, as these are the places where most children spend most of their time and can work as major contributors to the eating habits of the students, hence increasing their nutrition intake.
- Access to Affordable Foods – As part of the plan, farmers and groceries would be relocated to “food deserts” so that people everywhere can have access to the foods that a healthy body requires, at decent and reasonable rates. This would be amongst the first steps in order to transform a generation of kids to grow into healthy adults.
- Physical Exertion – The importance of physical activity and an encouragement of athletics is seen in the strategies of Let’s Move as it affiliated with various sports leagues like NBA, NFL and WNBA and women’s soccer. Moving and increasing the body’s exertion levels is significant especially at a time when 7.5 hours of each day of most adolescents is spent using the entertainment media. The recommended essential level of physical activity is practiced by no more than one-thirds of high school students. The Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) states that the individual should engage mainly three types of exercise including aerobic activity, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening.
What the American authority is working on is nothing but prevention tactics of the way of an entire generation to a doomed path of unfit, unhealthy, diseased bodies. With such a level of education, consciousness and resource-availability, the responsibility lies on no one but us to make the best possible use of these benefactors and prepare our bodies for an easier life. Though an American initiative, the message can be sent out to everyone as a cry for rising against such damaging and detrimental standards of living. The change is not expected to happen overnight, but a little effort from everyone would only help the world overcome such issues that hinder not only personal, but the growth of nations across the globe.
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