Today marks the one-year anniversary of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to prevent childhood obesity. The First Lady kicked off the week by addressing governors, mayors, doctors and community leaders and thanking them for their efforts to educate and encourage citizens to get moving.
“We cannot solve this prob by signing a few bills or holding a few press conferences in Washington. We need to address this issue at the grassroots level,” said Mrs. Obama.
During her talk, Mrs. Obama drove home the message that everyone can participate in improving this nationwide epidemic.
In honor of the first anniversary of Let’s Move!, here are the top 10 health and fitness tips you can implement into your family’s lives:
1. Make exercise fun.
You don’t have to spend hours slaving away at the gym to get in shape. Instead, dedicate as little as 30 minutes a day to shooting hopes, swimming, bike riding or playing touch football in the backyard. “We also know just how hard it is to pull these kids away from the TV, the computer, the video games and that’s why we worked so hard to reignite the magic of play for these kids,” said Mrs. Obama.
2. Get more out of your daily routine.
Instead of driving or taking public transportation, walk or bike to school or work. The average adult needs at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week, and this is an easy way to meet that quota. Get more information from Let’s Move’s Safe Routes to School program.
3. Candy, cookies, and pizza are okay in moderation.
Mrs. Obama said she allows her daughters to enjoy junk food every now and then, especially during special occasions like last week’s Super Bowl. “I like to talk about my obsession with French fries because I don’t want people to think that Let’s Move is about complete, utter deprivation. It is about moderation and real life changes and ideas that really work for families, today’s families too,” said Mrs. Obama.
4. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat well.
You can find quality groceries at an affordable price at discount centers like Walmart, which recently created a Nutrition Charter to bring healthy food to its customers.
5. Challenge yourself!
Sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) on letsmove.org. You can earn a PALA by getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least five days a week, for six out of eight weeks. The First Lady hopes to get one million Americans to sign up by September 11.
6. Get your community involved.
Five hundred cities have signed up for the Let’s Move Cities and Towns program that encourages entire communities to join the fight against obesity. Reach out to an elected official in your town and ask him or her to choose a significant action that your town will incorporate for the next year. Urge local businesses to sponsor a rec team or ask organizations to provide transportation to outdoor events.
7. Read the fine print.
The average soda contains 110 calories, yet many people drink one or more a day. In an effort to make parents more aware of these calories, the American Beverage Association promised to put calorie labels on the front of its cans, bottles, vending and fountain machines. You can start by replacing some of the sugary drinks in your fridge with water.
8. Step off the scale.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more about incorporating positive food and exercise choices into your everyday life than a number on a scale. “It’s not about weight … it’s about fitness and it’s about overall nutrition,” Mrs. Obama said last year in a “Larry King Live” interview.
9. Get regular checkups.
Keep track of your BMI (Body mass index) by getting regular screenings. Under the Affordable Care Act, all health insurance plans are required to cover screening and counseling for childhood obesity.
10. Get schools involved.
Students often consume half of their daily calories while at school. Begin the discussion with your child’s administration to make sure it is committed to providing healthy options during lunchtime. By visiting letsmove.gov, schools can earn monetary incentives and even an invitation to the White House!