“Eat smart. Play hard. Live well.” were the messages of the hour today as First Lady Michelle Obama sounded a call to the nation to get moving and improve the health of our nation’s children. At an historic White House event, a broad collection of advocates shared her enthusiasm for the new Let’s Move campaign. Joining the First Lady were Tiki Barber, sportscaster and former running back for the New York Giants; Kellogg Foundation grantee Will Allen (urban farmer and director of Growing Power), Dr. Judith Palfrey, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and D.C. area sixth graders. Also in attendance were five cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, physicians (including U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin – a former Kellogg National Fellow) and other health care professionals, athletes, corporate, foundation and nonprofit leaders. Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation joined this momentous event.
Mrs. Obama was introduced by a local student, who last year participated in the planting of the White House garden, and admitted it was a life changing experience. Offering an ambitious goal of ending the childhood obesity within a generation, the First Lady highlighted four key targets of the Let’s Move campaign.
- Offering parents the tools and information they need,
- Getting healthier foods into our nation’s schools,
- Ensuring that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities, and
- Increasing opportunities for kids to be physically active, both in and out of school.
She also announced the creation of a new, independent, nonpartisan organization called the Partnership for a Healthier America, that will serve to coordinate private, non-profit, and public sector efforts and link community, state, and national efforts. The Kellogg Foundation is a key supporter – not just in funds, but also in expertise that stems from decades of involvement in the development of healthier food systems in communities – along with Kaiser-Permanente, Nemours, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California Endowment and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Efforts like the Partnership for a Healthier America complement the Kellogg Foundation’s ongoing work, which is ripe with innovation, funding and convening partners, and growth through tools like social networking.