First Lady Michelle Obama urged partner groups to keep asking "What can I do to help kids in my community lead healthier lives?" in a speech Wednesday celebrating the anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign.
Obama spoke today at North Point Community Church to mark the one-year anniversary of her campaign to end childhood obesity through exercise and healthy food. In her personal speech, Obama considered the beginning of the initiative and looked ahead to the future to see what more needs to be done to reduce childhood obesity.
"One year later, Let's Move! is far more than just a campaign. It is so much more than just a slogan. It's a nationwide movement to give our kids everything they need – all the energy, strength and opportunities they need – to fulfill every last bit of their potential and achieve every last one of their dreams," the first lady reflected at the evangelical megachurch in Georgia.
Obama also highlighted achievements made through the program. Those achievements include having recruited almost 500 communities for Let's Move Cities and Towns and actively collecting entries for the goal of one million Americans earning the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by September 2011.
To earn the PALA, participates must submit an exercise log documenting 60 minutes of active exercise a day for children and 30 minutes of active exercise a day for adults, five days a week for six weeks.
Churches and faith groups are instrumental in making Let's Move! successful. As part of her campaign, the first lady has reached out the faith community via conference calls and meetings, encouraging them to take be part in the campaign's efforts to host organic food and walking groups and to educate congregants about living healthy.
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which represents 30,000 evangelical churches in United States and Puerto Rico, was moved by the campaign to expand its own offspring program called Pro-templo or Building the Temple. Under the project, the NHCLC has committed to developing and nurturing an exercise/health/wellness ministry in all of its member churches.
"As a person who grew up in abject poverty, we understand that malnutrition has two faces, especially in the Latino community where 1 out of 4 Hispanic families struggle to put enough food on the table," said Bishop Angel Nunez, Senior NHCLC Vice President in a statement.
The United Church of Christ created the faithfully Walking Challenge to rally members to walk a total of 3 million miles by September 2011. The first lady urged faith groups to take on this challenge in a November 2010 teleconference.
The first lady also successfully lobbied for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to be signed into law, partnered with Walmart to bring healthier and more affordable foods to their 140 million customers, and garnered commitments from three of the largest food service providers to improve the food they provide to schools over the next 10 years.
Obama praised those efforts and encouraged faith and community groups to do more the second year in the challenge.
"We need to ask ourselves, 'What can I do, through my workplace, my place of worship, my organization, to help kids in my community lead healthier lives?'" she shared.
To aid efforts in the coming year, Obama has partnered with the Ad Council to unveil a national Let's Move! public service announcement campaign. The campaign will reach 33,000 media outlets.