Let's Move!: First Lady Column on Physical Activity

I remember when I was a kid, all my friends and I wanted to do after school was run around outside until dinner. And even then, we didn't really want to come inside. But now, with video games, the internet, and entire TV networks geared toward kids, there's a lot more competition for our children's free time. And as we've seen more and more, when kids aren't moving, when they're not active, they're less likely to grow up healthy — and it's a significant factor in our country's building epidemic of childhood obesity.

Photo of Let's Move LogoSo in our first year of Let's Move!, we've worked hard to reignite the magic of play and get kids moving again. We've worked with sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, with pro athletes and nonprofit leaders. And with Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and gold-medal gymnast Dominique Dawes at the helm, we've established a revamped President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.

Kids are moving all over the country, from schools to our greatest national parks. Families have joined in as we reach for our goal of one million Americans to take the PALA Challenge. With this program, everyone, from a pre-schooler to grandma and grandpa, can earn the President's Active Lifestyle Award with just an hour a day of physical activity for kids and 30 minutes for adults. So we're working to set good habits that can continue long after the challenge is over.

Plus, more than 3,500 schools participated in Walk to School Month. Gyms have introduced family days with fun activities for the kids, and neighborhoods all across the country have broken ground on new playgrounds and parks for families. And the Departments of Interior and Agriculture have teamed up to get kids outdoors — from local parks and pathways to our beautiful national lands and waterways — with Let's Move Outside!

So Let's Move! isn't just the name of an initiative. Those two little words are a call to action — something we want kids to say more and more. Because playing around shouldn't be something they feel like they have to do — it should be something they want to do. The more they dance, the more they kick around the soccer ball with friends, chances are they're going to want to keep doing it even more.

That's what we're working toward — a future where kids are having fun, feeling better about themselves, and on the road to a healthier future. And if we as parents have to call a couple extra times to get them to come inside for dinner, that's not all bad either.

- First Lady Michelle Obama

This article is being distributed in celebration of the Let's Move! one-year anniversary and can be shared with your friends, neighbors and anyone else interested in solving the epidemic of childhood obesity materials. Check www.letsmove.gov for additional free materials, including copies of our new PSAs.