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. Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties supports local elected officials who are working to build healthier communities. Local elected officials who sign up as a Let’s Move! City, Town or County must be willing to commit to five achievable, measurable goals within an overarching framework of forming a local task force that engages a range of city agencies, partners and constituents to achieve the five goals. Developed with the role of local elected officials in mind, the 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 municipal or county venues where food is served.
Goal III: Smart Servings for Students
To provide healthy food in schools, local elected officials commit to increasing participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
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 municipal and county venues that serve food.
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.
Local elected officials can sign up your city, town or county at www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the lead collaborating partner on this initiative, working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties, and other nonprofit organizations.
Chefs Move to Schools
Good nutrition at school is more important than ever for the 32 million children who participate in the National School Lunch Program, and the 13 million who participate in the School Breakfast Program. This year, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will go into effect, increasing support for schools as they implement healthier and more nutritious school meal standards. It is a great win for our nation’s kids – and their parents. The new meal standards ensure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week, increasing whole grain-rich foods, offering fat-free or low-fat milk, ensuring proper portion sizes and reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
Chefs Move to Schools pairs chefs with schools and school districts to help schools improve kids’ health and nutrition. Chefs are encouraged to sign up as volunteers in schools and then to partner with teachers, parents, school nutritionists, food service directors, and administrators to build a healthy school environment.
Help Kids Make Healthy Choices
Chefs can engage young people in learning about nutrition and making balanced and healthy choices through MyPlate and MiPlato.
Start a School Garden
Chefs can help students and teachers across the country start school gardens for benefits that go beyond the classroom. In this hands-on learning environment, students care for and watch their vegetables grow plus they have fun eating the fruits of their labor.
Chefs can teach new culinary techniques and recipes for healthy, delicious meals that meet the schools’ dietary guidelines and budgets. By creating healthy meals that are also delicious, chefs have a unique ability to make good nutrition fun and appealing.
Take the HealthierUS School Challenge
An important component of Chefs Move to Schools is the HealthierUS School Challenge – a program that has spurred schools all across the country to raise their standards and transform classrooms and cafeterias into places where healthy eating and nutrition is learned and experienced. Schools that are doing the very best work to keep kids healthy are recognized, and high-achieving schools receive monetary awards. Visit the HealthierUS School Challenge website to sign up.
If you are a chef or a school, visit Chefs Move to Schools to sign up.
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 new food icon to help us all build a healthy plate at meal times emphasizing fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins, 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! Museums and Gardens
Did you know that there are more than 17,500 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 and 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.
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 and Gardens, sign up here.
- Toolkit for Museums and Gardens
- Use the activity search engine to find Let’s Move! activities at museums
- Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens Success Stories
This program is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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! 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 Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with Nemours and the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.
Let’s Move! in the Clinic
Let’s Move! in the Clinic seeks to engage health care professionals through clinical efforts and actions to work with patients to address childhood obesity. Health care professionals directly impact children’s health, and each encounter is an opportunity to help children understand the importance of good nutrition and physical activity—from their earliest moments of life through adulthood. That’s why health care professionals can make a real difference in solving the problem of childhood obesity by working together with children and their families in clinics, practices, homes, schools and neighborhoods. Let’s Move! in the Clinic encourages health care providers to make a commitment toward two goals:
Calculate Body Mass Index (BMI)
Health care professionals can calculate BMI for every child at every well-child visit and provide information to parents about how to help their child achieve a healthy weight.
Provide Prescriptions for Healthy, Active Living
At every well-child visit, provide prescriptions for good nutrition and physical activity along with information for families about the impact of healthy eating habits and regular physical activity on overall health.
- Rx for Healthier Living
- Message from the First Lady to Health Care Providers
- Resources for Pediatricians
Sign up here to get started.
This program is administered by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Let's Move Salad Bars 2 Schools
Salad bars at schools mean that kids will have the choice of fresh vegetables and fruit every day and learn great, healthy eating habits for life. Eating a salad a day is one simple, effective, easy step toward a healthier nation. 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, an initiative of the Food Family Farming Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, United Fresh Produce Association Foundation, and Whole Foods Market. As a nation, we need to continue to support salad bars in schools. Salad bars have been shown to increase intake and acceptance of fruits and vegetables for kids, and they’re an effective method of implementing 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 the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools web site.
- 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 Food Family Farming Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, United Fresh Produce Association Foundation, and Whole Foods Market.