Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is obese or overweight. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don’t solve this problem, one third of all children born today will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others may face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.
Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including parents, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, private sector companies and elected officials from all levels of government. Your involvement is key to ensuring a healthy future for our children.
The Let’s Move! initiative has instituted various programs across the country to mobilize each of these sectors to become involved in solving the problem of childhood obesity nationwide. These programs, highlighted below, work in collaboration with the overall goals of Let’s Move! by offering solutions and ways that each sector that plays a role can start making changes around this issue. Let’s Move! Program Factsheet.
Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties
No city, town or county is the same, and each one needs its own, unique approach to building healthy communities As part of the Let’s Move! initiative, Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, calls upon local elected officials to adopt long-term, sustainable and holistic approaches to address childhood obesity. Consistent with Let’s Move!, local elected officials who sign up as a Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties site are willing to commit to five goals. Developed with the role of local elected officials in mind, the five goals are designed to promote sustainable strategies that will improve the health of local constituents.
Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart
To provide children with a healthier start, local elected officials commit to helping early care and education providers incorporate best practices for nutrition, physical activity and screen time into their programs.
Goal II: MyPlate, Your Place
To empower parents and caregivers, local elected officials commit to prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipally- or county-owned or operated venues that offer or sell food/beverages.
Goal III: Smart Servings for Students
To provide healthy food to children and youth, local elected officials commit to expanding access to meal programs before, during and after the school day, and/or over the summer months.
Goal IV: Model Food Service
To improve access to healthy, affordable foods, local elected officials commit to implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in all municipally- or county-owned or operated venues that offer or sell food/beverages.
Goal V: Active Kids at Play
To increase physical activity, local elected officials commit to mapping local play spaces, completing a needs assessment, developing an action plan, and launching a minimum of three proven policies, programs or initiatives aimed at increasing access to play.
LMCTC goals were identified because they are achievable and measurable and because they leverage existing federal initiatives. In addition, widespread adoption of these goals will highlight local action, enable city, town and county leaders to track their progress and that of their peers in communities across the nation, and accelerate momentum around the development of concrete, sustainable strategies to promote healthy eating and active living. Local elected officials have the opportunity to earn gold, silver, and bronze medals, as they proceed in accomplishing the five goals. Those medals are highlighted here.
Local elected officials can sign up your city, town or county at www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org
The National League of Cities (NLC) is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties, and other nonprofit organizations to assist local elected officials who join LMCTC as they implement policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity
Let's Move! Child Care
Let’s Move! Child Care is a voluntary initiative to empower child care and early education providers. Helping children get off to a healthy start in child care and early education programs is critical to solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. One in five children is overweight or obese by age 6. With about 12 million babies and young children in child care nationwide, child care providers have the powerful opportunity to instill healthy choices that could help prevent childhood obesity from the start. We invite child care and early education providers to meet 5 goals:
Increase Physical Activity
Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
Reduce Screen Time
No screen time for children under 2 years. For children age 2 and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care and work with parents and caregivers to ensure children have no more than 1-2 hours of quality screen time per day (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics).
Improve Food Choices
Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style whenever possible, and don't serve fried foods.
Provide Healthy Beverages
Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don't serve sugar-sweetened drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4- to 6-ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
Support Breast Feeding
For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day. Support all new parents' decisions about infant feeding.
- Let’s Move! Child Care Checklist Quiz and Action Planning Tool
- For free tools and resources, visit the Resource Center at http://www.healthykidshealthyfuture.org/resources.html.
- For more information and help, please email us at LMCCHelp@cdc.gov.
This program is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with Nemours and the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.
Let's Move! Active Schools
On February 28, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move! Active Schools, a solution to ensure that 60 minutes of physical activity day is the norm in schools across America. Powered by a national collaboration of leading health and education organizations, Let’s Move! Active Schools helps K-12 schools adopt active learning environments by:
- Streamlining the selection of physical activity and physical education resources, programs, professional development and funding opportunities
- Delivering a customized Action Plan
- Connecting physical activity and physical education to academic success
Let’s Move! Active Schools is built to inspire our nation’s youth to reach their greatest potential and to adopt a lifetime of healthy habits. By 2018, Let’s Move! Active Schools hopes to enroll 50,000 schools and help more than 25 million kids integrate physical activity into their daily lives.
Learn more and sign up for Let's Move! Active Schools here.
- Roadmap for Developing an Active School
- Active Kids Do Better Infographic
- Success Story: Making Moves in Memphis
Let’s Move! Active Schools, a collaborative effort of leading national health and education organizations, was established as a public-private partnership between the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Partnership for a Healthier America, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators).
Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens
Did you know that there are more than 35,000 museums of all types across America? They include public gardens, children’s museums, zoos, art, history and science-technology centers and they are visited 850 million times a year. Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens is a national initiative to provide opportunities for millions of museum and garden visitors to learn about healthy food choices and physical activity through interactive exhibits, children’s afterschool and summer programs, and healthy food service. Visit your local garden and museum and ask about Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens.
Participating museums and gardens are asked to offer one or more of the following opportunities:
Host an Eat Healthy, Get Active Exhibit
Commit to offering interactive experiences that promote healthy eating and physical activity.
Teach Healthy Choices through Afterschool, Summer and Other Programs
Start a program afterschool, in-school or during the summer that emphasizes healthy food choices and physical activity.
Healthy Food Service
Change your food service operation to offer food options that reflect healthy choices.
Teach Healthy Choices Using the Food Service Operation
Incorporate nutrition education into your food service operation. For example, create exhibits that help families learn about healthy choices.
To join Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens, sign up here.
This program is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Chefs Move to Schools
The Chefs Move to Schools (CMTS) program is an integral part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and its goal of helping kids lead healthier lives. Chefs can teach new culinary techniques and recipes for healthy meals that meet the federal meal pattern requirements. By creating healthy meals that are also delicious, chefs participating in CMTS have a unique ability to make good nutrition fun and appealing in the school environment.
The Chefs Move to Schools website has been updated and redesigned to include a variety of resources and materials for use by chefs. The resources can assist chefs in educating students and communities about healthy food choices and cooking techniques. All resources are free of charge and easy to use. Chefs are encouraged to volunteer in schools and partner with teachers, parents, school nutritionists, food service directors, and administrators.
The CMTS National Advisory Committee (NAC) was formed to promote chef involvement in adopting additional training resources to engage students, parents, and community members on nutrition and making balanced, healthy, and flavorful food choices. The NAC is comprised of chefs, culinary organizations, allied organizations, food industry partners, school nutrition professionals, and university partners. The resources created by the NAC can be used in the classroom or in afterschool cooking programs.
The Chefs Move To Schools - After School Cooking Program Pilot involves chefs who participated in the National Food Service Management Institute’s Connect: Chefs Move to Schools training. These chefs are now executing an After School Cooking Pilot Program in 26 sites across the nation. The After School Cooking Program encourages hands on culinary training, food and nutrition education.
Look for the CMTS yearly calendar of activities including free training for ideas on how to get involved.
Visit Chefs Move to Schools for more information.
Let’s Move! Faith and Communities
Let’s Move! Faith and Communities helps faith-based and neighborhood organizations promote healthy living for children and communities. As trusted leaders, faith-based and community organizations are essential partners in solving the problems that lead to childhood obesity. Children learn many lessons about healthy living and well-being in faith- and community-based settings that set the foundation for their lifestyles as adults. We encourage you to Lead, Organize, and Take Action to make your congregation or community a place of wellness. Organize a wellness council or ministry for your community or congregation, and commit to working toward these action steps together:
Use MyPlate/MiPlato As a Reminder for Your Community and Congregational Meals
MyPlate is the food icon that helps us all build a healthy plate at meal times emphasizing fruit, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy food groups. Improve meals to make MyPlate your community’s plate.
Host Nutrition Education Classes
Open up your organization’s kitchen and host kids and their parents for healthy cooking lessons. Use the Eat Healthy Be Active Community Workshops curriculum as a foundation. Each workshop includes a lesson plan, learning objectives, talking points, hands-on activities and handouts to teach nutrition in a community setting.
Grow Healthy Food for Your Community by Starting a Garden
A community vegetable garden is a great way to provide healthy, fresh food for those in need and teach children that healthy eating can be fun! Congregations and community organizations often have land available for gardening. Visit the Let’s Move! Community Garden page to learn more.
Feed Kids Over the Summer
Help ensure that kids in your community have access to nutritious meals when school is out by hosting the Summer Food Service Program. Your organization can participate as a site and receive free meals to help kids in low-income areas get the food they need to learn, play and grow throughout the summer months.
Host a Weekly Exercise Activity
Children need at least 60 minutes of active play every day to stay healthy. You can help by hosting regular and fun physical activities at your site.
To join Let’s Move! Faith and Communities, sign up here.
- Toolkit for Faith-based & Neighborhood Organizations
- MyPlate Community Toolkit
- Let’s Move Faith and Communities gardening guide
- Communities on the Move Success Stories
The program is administered by the Department Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
Let’s Move Outside!
Regular exercise in nature is proven to improve children’s physical and mental health. Outdoor activity helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boost their immunity and bone health, and lower stress. Let’s Move Outside! was created to help kids and their families take advantage of American’s great outdoors-which abound in every city, town and community. Visit the Let’s Move OutsideI web page for ideas on what to do, what to bring and where to go in the great outdoors.
- Let’s Move Outside! Junior Rangers, a part of the Let’s Move Outside! program, promotes healthy outdoor activities in 50 national parks across the country by highlighting existing junior ranger programs that have a strong physical activity component.
The program is administered by the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Let’s Move! in Indian Country
Let’s Move! in Indian Country seeks to improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Native children, who are affected by childhood obesity at some of the highest rates in the country. To address the health crisis that young American Indians and Alaska Natives are facing, Tribal governments, Urban Indian Centers, private businesses, youth leaders and the non-profit sector are each asked to play a key role by working together to raise the next generation of healthy Native children.
Create a healthy start on life for children
We aim to certify all federally-run IHS obstetrics facilities as Baby Friendly Hospitals. Support mothers in your community who choose to breastfeed and support Tribally-run obstetrics facilities to work toward becoming Baby Friendly Hospital status.
Create healthy learning communities
Transform school and afterschool environments that serve Native youth through increased access to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services programs, school/community garden initiatives, Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program and physical activity programs
Ensure Families Access to Healthy, Affordable and Traditional Foods
Begin a dialogue in your community about access to healthy foods by creating a tribal or inter-tribal food policy council to improve community access to affordable, healthy foods.
Increase Opportunities for Physical Activity
Participate in fitness activities through the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, a basketball clinic or community fitness event!
Contact us at Letsmoveinindiancountry@doi.gov to let us know what you can do to support Native youth and communities.
- Check out the Let’s Move! in Indian Country toolkit and fact sheet for ideas for your community.
- Letter from First Lady Michelle Obama at the launch of Let's Move! in Indian Country
This program is administered by the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Let's Move! Salad Bars to Schools
Incorporating salad bars into school lunches gives children daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins, offering them not only variety, but also choice. Eating a salad a day is one simple, effective, easy step towards a healthier nation, and providing the opportunity in schools helps kids to establish healthy eating habits for life. As part of her efforts to help kids lead healthier lives, the First Lady has challenged America to put 6,000 salad bars into schools. In response to Mrs. Obama’s challenge, leaders across sectors have stepped up to help support salad bars in schools through Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools.
As a nation, we need to continue to support moving salad bars to schools. Salad bars have been shown to increase intake and acceptance of fruits and vegetables for kids, and they’re an effective way to implement the new school meal requirements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. For more information about offering a salad bar as part of school lunch programs, visit Let's Move! Salad Bars to Schools.
- Remarks by the First Lady at “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” Event
- A New Salad Bar for Falk Elementary Schools
- Success Story: Kiana School in Alaska Gets a Salad Bar
If you would like to apply for a salad bar for your local school, visit www.saladbars2schools.org.
Let's Move! Salad Bars to Schools is an initiative of the Chef Ann Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, United Fresh Start Foundation, and Whole Foods Market.