Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign has seen great success over the last four years in helping kids and families slim down and get healthier. From improving school lunch menus to encouraging families to get moving, the initiative has done a lot of work to halt and reverse what were once skyrocketing childhood obesity rates.
And it's working.
The latest figures show a 43 percent decline in obesity rates for 2- to 5-year-olds over the last decade. And considering that health experts have found that many of the major risk factors for childhood obesity are established by age 5, the decline at this age is likely to affect childhood obesity rates for years to come.
"Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas and congratulate ourselves on a job well done," Mrs. Obama said. "Just the opposite. Now is the time to fight even harder, because we now know it is possible to make a difference on this issue. We know that our strategies are beginning to work."
In line with this goal, the first lady announced that her Let's Move campaign will be tackling a new challenge when it comes to family wellness: home cooking.
At the summit, the first lady described her early years as a mom, after breastfeeding and what she lovingly referred to as "the jar years," when it came time for her and her husband to figure out how to feed their kids healthy foods while managing demanding, full-time careers. She admits to turning to take-out more often than she would have liked because she simply didn't have the energy — or the skills — to cook. Sounds familiar, right?
But studies have shown time and time again that we eat more when we eat out, or even get take-out, from a restaurant. We also miss out on the opportunity to share cooking and budgeting skills with our kids. Skills that would help them understand why it's cheaper and healthier to purchase a whole chicken and make several meals from it than it would be to hit up the dollar menu on the way home.
The Let's Move campaign hopes to encourage programs such as co-ed home-ec classes at schools and cooking classes at supermarkets that would help families learn how to save money while eating healthy foods.
"We cannot walk away from this issue until obesity rates drop for children of every age and every background," she said. "We cannot walk away until every child in this country has a shot at a healthy life. And that’s why I’m in this thing for the long haul, and I mean long after I leave the White House, because I believe in finishing what I start."
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