Michelle Obama: Happy 1ST Birthday For ‘Let’s Move!’

Feb 9, 2011 6:43pm

ABC's Jon Garcia reports:

It’s been one year since First Lady Michelle Obama announced her signature exercise and nutrition program ‘Let’s Move!’ And today, she celebrated. 

“’Let’s Move!’ is far more than just a campaign, it’s so much more than just a slogan, this is a nationwide movement,” she told a large crowd at a church auditorium in Atlanta. 

Obama deemed the program an early success, crediting the parents of America, who insisted on more information on food labels, more affordable fresh fruit and vegetables and better food in school lunch programs.

“The truth is that executives at Wal-Mart didn’t wake up one morning and decide to promote healthier products just for fun and folks in Congress didn’t write the most sweeping child nutrition legislation in decades because they had extra time on their hands,” she said, “They did this because folks like us stood up and asked for those changes.”

Last month Wal-Mart, one of the nation’s largest grocers, pledged to cut 25% of the salt and 10% of added sugars in processed products by 2015 as well to cut $1 billion in costs to lower the prices of fresh food.

In addition, Obama said they’re putting salad bars in 6,000 schools, enlisted 2,000 professional chefs to help make school menus more healthy. And they recruited professional athletes to star in commercials that promote exercise and eating right.

“If we can do all this in just one year, just imagine what  we’ll achieve next year,” she said. 

But as her husband often does, the First Lady cautioned “as far as we’ve come, when nearly one in three kids in this country is still overweight or obese, then we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Recalling a time when outdoor play time lasted hours, families almost always ate together at meals and fast food was thought of as a rare treat, she urged parents to find ways to recapture some of those values. 

“Back then, our society was structured so that healthy eating and exercise were natural parts of kids’ lives.  We didn’t even have to think about it – that was just the way it was.  But today, it’s the exact opposite,” she said.

But making the effort to recapture those values, she said, is essential to reversing the course that has lead to 27% of 17-24 year olds being too overweight to serve in the military and rates of childhood obesity still rising in some minority groups.

“it’s now clear that the choices we’ve made aren’t just endangering our kids’ future – they’re endangering our country’s future as well.  .. We’re doing this for our grand children and for their children,” she said.  “That’s what we do in America and ultimately that’s what we’re aiming to do with ‘Let’s Move!’”

- Jon Garcia

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