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Let's... Step it Up!

First Lady Michelle Obama has been reaching out to everyone about moving forward together to give all our children the healthy start to life that they deserve!

step it up

She's been talking with parents, teachers, local governments and community leaders, doctors and nurses, and, of course, kids!

Because Mrs. Obama's Let's Move! campaign has the ambitious goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation - she knows that we need everyone in our communities to pitch in.

And so today, in an effort to continue her outreach, Mrs. Obama spoke at the Grocery Manufacturers Association conference to challenge the industry to provide healthier options for families, to label their products more, and to market more responsibly to our children.

In her remarks, Mrs. Obama acknowledged the strides the industry has made in regards to promoting healthy habits for children. But she also challenged the industry - just as she has challenged parents, teachers, and kids themselves - to do more and to "step it up" for the sake of our youngest generation:

As you know, you all produce much of the food that our children eat - and have marketed to them - each day. The decisions you make determine what's in our grocery store shelves, what's in our school lunches, and what's in the thousands of advertisements our kids are exposed to each year. And I know that many of you are undertaking efforts to significantly reformulate your products - and I hope that the time will come when all of you are.

Many of you are also working to educate kids about good nutrition, and to limit advertisements for certain products to our children. And I know that a number of you - and I've met several of the committee - have come together to create the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to help address the issue of childhood obesity. So there are so many good examples, wonderful examples, of folks beginning to move in the right direction. It's very exciting.

But I'm here today to urge all of you to move faster and to go farther, because the truth is we don't have a moment to waste - because a baby born today could be less than a decade away from showing the first signs of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, if he or she is obese as a child. A recent study even found that three-year-olds who were obese already had one of the symptoms of heart disease.

So we need you all to step it up! We all need to step up in this country!

This is a shared responsibility. That's why I've gone to parents and I've asked them to do their part. They have a responsibility to watch what their kids eat and teach good habits. I've asked medical professionals to do their part. They have a responsibility to screen kids for obesity and help parents with these issues. Educators have a responsibility to build healthy schools. Governors and mayors have a responsibility to build healthy communities. And all of you have a responsibility as well.

And we need you not just to tweak around the edges, but to entirely rethink the products that you're offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children.

That starts with revamping or ramping up your efforts to reformulate your products, particularly those aimed at kids, so that they have less fat, salt, and sugar, and more of the nutrients that our kids need.

So let's all follow Mrs. Obama's lead. Let's step up our efforts and step out with our kids more often. Let's lead by example and let's stamp out childhood obesity for all the future generations to come.