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Sam Kass Delivers Remarks on Let’s Move! at the American Heart Association’s Annual Scientific Sessions

Yesterday, Executive Director of Let’s Move! Sam Kass was a featured speaker during the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2013 in Dallas, Texas. Kass spoke during a plenary session entitled “Solving the Obesity/Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic: The Role of Physical Activity/Exercise.” The plenary session was part of the “Global Congress on Physical Activity,” one of twenty six tracks the AHA offered to attendees during the five-day conference. 

Not only have childhood obesity rates tripled over the past three decades, it is estimated that one third of today’s youth will suffer from Type 2 Diabetes at some point in their lives. With these staggering statistics, we all need to work together, and that’s exactly what Let’s Move! has set out to do. During his remarks, Kass spoke about the key goals First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative has worked toward over the past four years, which include inspiring a cultural shift that helps families support kids’ health, creating a demand for healthier products, ensuring that the healthy choice is the easy choice for families, and increasing physical activity for kids across the country.

He also highlighted important progress that has been made. Through Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, over 60 million people now live in a community that is committed to improving the health of its residents. And great strides have been made in creating healthier environments in schools, such as improvements to the nutritional value of school lunches and working to increase physical activity in and around the school day through Let’s Move! Active Schools.

Kass commended the scientists and clinicians who work tirelessly on this issue to combat cardiovascular disease. He emphasized that while the efforts to improve children and family health and combat disease can be challenging, they are critical in supporting a healthier generation of kids in this country. Research that was presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions today reminds us all how important it is to keep pushing forward with our efforts. This new research shows that in the United States, kids’ cardiovascular endurance performance declined approximately six percent per decade between 1970 and 2000. It also outlined that around the world, children are about 15 percent less fit than their parents were when they were young. While we have seen progress on engagement in programs to help get kids moving, now is the time to double down on our efforts to reverse the trend of inactivity in this country. During his remarks, Kass called on Americans to work toward making physical activity easier and more fun for kids and families.

The AHA’s Scientific Sessions – held annually – are structured to improve patient care by sharing the most recent and significant advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In addition to attracting thousands of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular clinicians, researchers, and leaders from more than 105 different countries, the Scientific Sessions also draw over 1.5 million virtual attendees.