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Let’s Move Newark!

In late October, Mayor Corey Booker announced Let’s Move Newark! a city-wide effort to bring together business, non-profits, schools, and health care groups to develop a plan to combat childhood obesity by 2030. The Mayor recommended that the First Lady visit a local school that is using innovating programs to get students eating healthier and getting more exercise. The First Lady and Mayor Booker visited Maple Elementary School in Newark, N.J. for a student briefing with six students who shared what motivates kids to take action. Four students from Maple Elementary told stories from their "Growing Minds and Kids Fit" program, emphasizing that they are bringing their lessons home. One student said he convinced his mom to stop frying food and baking it instead, another talked about the vegetables they are growing and eating in school. Two students from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board also participated. Robert from Michigan, shared how his grandmother’s diabetes inspired him to take action. He’s working with his school, the PTA and other students to make school lunches healthier. Being a role model, he also encourages his friends and younger students to get regular exercise. Chassidy from Mississippi spoke as well but her shining moment came when she got to warm the crowded auditorium before the First Lady’s speech. Chassidy talked about coming from the state with the highest obesity rates – 45% kids are overweight and 22% obese. She explained her commitment to ending childhood obesity by sharing that three of her young cousins died because of obesity-related diseases. Her mission is to educate young people to develop healthy habits at a young age so they can lead long lives. In her speech, the First Lady greeted the kids with warmth and enthusiasm and shared student’s stories from around the country, encouraging them all to be leaders in their communities,

“The truth is, kids like you are some of the best leaders we’ve got. Your friends listen to you. Your parents learn from you. And I’m inspired by you every day. So I want all of you to get involved. You don’t have to start some big program or get up in front of your entire school. You can do something as simple as figure out new ways to have some fun – maybe just play a new game or a sport outside with your friends or turn on some music and dance, instead of sitting around on the couch. Or you can just try eating more fruits and vegetables. Or you can teach your families what you’re learning at school about healthy living.”

Mayor Booker was an early supporter of Let’s Move and is co-chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America.