Beyonce Joins Michelle Obama's Initiative To Fight Childhood Obesity

PHOTO: Beyonce performs in the "Move Your Body" video for Lets Move!
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In a lively video released Wednesday, Beyonce, clad in short shorts, green knee socks and signature stilettos, leads a cafeteria full of kids in a dance routine, encouraging them to move their bodies. Beyonce created the video to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign, which seeks to curb childhood obesity.

The Grammy award winning singer joins the ranks of other high profile celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Scarlett Johansson and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who have all volunteered their fame to promote a healthy lifestyle.

"Beyonce clearly recognizes that schools play a pivotal role in obesity prevention, including healthy school meals, and opportunities for an hour or more a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity," said Dr. George R. Flores, senior program manager of the California Endowment.

In the music video, Beyonce bounds into a busy cafeteria singing a remix of her song "Get me Bodied," with words encouraging kids to "move your body."

"A little sweat ain't never hurt nobody," Beyonce sings with some everyday students turned fierce dancers, behind her.

The First Lady launched the 'Let's Move!' campaign last year. The movement gives facts, tips and advice on how families and schools can create healthier meals and incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

"Celebrity campaigns primarily increase awareness," said Dr. Jennifer Helmcamp, a pediatrician and obesity expert at Scott & White Hospital in Austin, Tex. "One of the great things about Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move!' initiative is that not only is there a focus on awareness of the problem, but there is also a focus on what behavior changes can be done to improve the problem."

"Michelle Obama has modeled behaviors such as planting gardens, exercising and talks about what she does at home to keep her kids healthy," Helmcamp continued. "Adding someone like Beyonce to the campaign is great because she is a very visible influence on older children and teens."

Not all doctors were quick to lend their full support to the approach. Dr. David L. Katz, co-founder of the Yale Prevention Research Center, said that there can be a danger in celebrities, instead of health professionals, advocating for such campaigns.

"Ideally, the celebrities will leave the expertise to the experts, and simply lend the support of their celebrity, cache, and imprimatur," said Katz. "When they co-opt the message, and take it in unintended directions, it can [create] unintended, and undesirable, effects."

But Katz added that, assuming Beyonce is lending support to credible efforts, "her involvement is helpful and most welcome and I commend her for it."

Still, Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, founder and executive director of the Oliver-Pyatt eating disorder centers, said that "the road to hell can be paved with good intentions," and campaigns like this one can actually spark a weight bias in kids and adults.

"We are labeling people as overweight and obese and causing shame and driving them to diet," said Oliver-Pyatt. "We want to promote overall health versus a concentration on weight."

"We only want to do intervention on modifiable behavior and weight is not a modifiable behavior," she continued.

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