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Let's Move! Three Years of Working Towards a Healthier Generation of Children

First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move! on February 9, 2010 to unite the country around our kids’ health and create real support for families to live healthier lives.  Since then we’ve seen substantial commitments from parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves to improve the health of our nation’s children. Thanks to these efforts, families now have access to more of the information they need to make healthier decisions for their children. Young people now have more opportunities for physical activity in their communities. Food in schools has been dramatically improved.  And more Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food right in their communities.


First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a tug of war competition during a "Let's Move! London" event at Winfield House in London, England, July 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Later this month we’ll be celebrating Let’s Move!’s third anniversary by showcasing progress and announcing new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children. Until then, here’s a look back on what the nation has accomplished over the past 3 years.

This year’s Let’s Move! milestones and collaborations include:

  • Disney announced that it will require all food and beverage products advertised, sponsored, or promoted on various Disney-owned media channels and online destinations and theme parks to meet nutritional guidelines that align with federal standards to promote fruit and vegetables and limit calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat by 2015.
  • In support of Team USA at the 2012 Olympic Games, the US Olympic Committee and several of its national governing bodies – USA Cycling/USA BMX, US Paralympics, USA Soccer, USA Swimming, USA Track & Field, USA Tennis, USA Gymnastics, the US Olympians Associations, USA Field Hockey, and US Volleyball – provided beginner athletic programming for free or low cost to more than 1.7 million kids in 2012.
  • The Department of Defense announced dramatic improvements to nutrition standards for the $4.65 billion worth of food purchased every year for our troops and their families. For the first time in 20 years, DOD is updating their nutritional standards to include more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products with every meal.
  • The First Lady celebrated a series of new collaborations to support Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties. Organizations including the National League of Cities, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and KaBOOM committed new resources to help hundreds of local elected officials advance the goals of Let’s Move! in their communities. More than 150 local elected officials have committed to the goals of the initiative.
  • Birds Eye committed to spending at least $2 million per year for three years to marketing and advertising efforts designed to encourage children to consume and enjoy vegetables. They will also work with kids on two new kid-developed products and will distribute 50 million coupons as part of a marketing campaign to promote vegetables.
  • Through the PHA “Play Streets,” the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association funded street-closings to increase safe places for families to play. These areas are called “Play Streets”—city streets where kids and families can run, walk, bike, or play outside freely without traffic. In 2013, at least four Play Streets per city/town in 10 cities and towns across the country will be funded.
  • In August 2012, the First Lady hosted the first-ever Kids’ State Dinner celebrating healthy lunchtime recipes created by kids. The First Lady, along with Epicurious, USDA, and the Department of Education, welcomed 54 young chefs from all 50 states and U.S. territories to a luncheon at the White House serving some of those healthy creations.


A booklet of the winning lunch recipes is included as part of the place setting at the Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

  • The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition updated the President’s Challenge Youth Fitness Test to reflect the latest science on kids’ health and promote active, healthy lifestyles rather than athletic performance and competition. The new Presidential Youth Fitness Program is a voluntary, school-based program that assesses students’ fitness-based health and helps them progress over time. The new program will be implemented in 25 percent of US schools by the end of 2013, and 90 percent of US schools by 2018.
  • The Partnership for a Healthier America teamed up with 157 hospitals to deliver more healthy options throughout their facilities. These hospitals have committed to work over the next three years to improve the nutrition of patient meals as well as that of the food options in on-site cafeterias. This includes more fruits, vegetables, whole grains,  low calorie options, and healthy beverages.   
  • In September 2012, experts in the physical activity and public health communities (The Partnership for a Healthier America, Nike Inc., the American College of Sports Medicine, and the International Council of Sports Science and Physical Education) came together around a shared set of seven best practice “design filters” for youth physical activity programming. Organizations across sectors are working to integrate these filters into school and community-based physical activity programs to provide positive, quality experiences for young people across the country. 

And over the past three years, people from every sector of society have come together to support the goals of Let’s Move!:

  • In December 2010, President Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, groundbreaking legislation that is helping American public schools offer healthier school meals for tens of millions of American children. And in January 2012, the USDA released new school meal regulations to boost the quality and nutrition of our national school lunch and breakfast programs – including offering more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and less sodium, saturated fat, and trans fats.
  • Through the HealthierUS School Challenge, more than 5,000 schools now meet high standards in nutrition and fitness – and the list continues to grow, surpassing goals set not just for 2012, but for 2013 as well.
  • Walgreens, Supervalu, Walmart and several regional grocers announced a commitment to build or expand 1,500 stores in communities with limited or no access to healthy food. This initiative will create thousands of local jobs, and will provide access to fresh food to an estimated 9.5 million people who currently have limited access. In California alone, the Fresh Works Fund has committed 200 million dollars to this effort to increase access to healthy food.  
  • Darden, the world’s largest full service restaurant company, which owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other chains, made a commitment to improve kids’ menus by offering a fruit or vegetable and low-fat milk with every meal. Darden will also reduce total calories and sodium by 20% across their menus over the next 10 years.
  • The First Lady launched MyPlate and MiPlato, an easy to understand icon to help parents make healthier choices for their families. More than 6,100 community groups and 100 national organizations and corporations have partnered with the USDA to give families across the country access to this important nutritional information.
  • The First Lady worked with the US Tennis Association to build or refurbish more than 6,200 kid-sized tennis courts across the country, sign up more than 250,000 kids to complete their PALAs, and train 12,000 coaches to help kids learn the sport of tennis.
  • The First Lady launched Let’s Move! Child Care to ensure that our youngest children are getting a healthy start.  As of January of 2013, more than 10,000 child care professionals and organizations have registered to implement new criteria for nutrition, physical activity, and limited screen time.
  • Walmart announced a new Nutrition Charter through which they lowered the cost of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products by $1 billion in 2011. Wal-Mart has also pledged to work with manufacturers to eliminate trans fats and remove 10% of the sugar and 25% of the sodium in the food they sell by 2015.
  • Through Chefs Move to School, 2,400 chefs and nearly 4,000 schools have signed up to work together, teaching kids about healthy eating and helping cafeteria staff prepare healthier meals.
  • The country’s largest food manufacturers pledged to cut 1.5 trillion calories from the food they sell by 2015 through their Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.
  • The American Beverage Association fulfilled their commitment to put clear calorie labels on the front of their products to give consumers better information.
  • Through Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens, 597 participating institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed up to offer active exhibits and healthy food choices.
  • In one year, 1.7 million Americans earned the President’s Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) for engaging in regular physical activity, far exceeding the First Lady’s goal of 1 million.
  • While visiting London for the 2012 Olympic Games, the First Lady joined Nickelodeon’s Big Help and the U.S. Olympic Committee in hosting a Let’s Move! event at the Winfield House. Roughly 1,200 children ages 8 – 13 from British families and American military families stationed in the U.K. attended the event centered around inspiring children to lead active, healthy lives.  The event also promoted the groundbreaking efforts of the U.S. Olympics Committee to provide 1.7 million children with athletic programming in their home communities.
  • In September 2011, the First Lady joined children and their families for Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play.  The event celebrated the success of the Million PALA Challenge, a joint initiative of Let’s Move! and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.  In the year since its launch, 1.7 million Americans earned the President’s Active Lifestyle Award for engaging in regular physical activity, far exceeding the First Lady's goal of 1 million.
  • Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools has delivered more than 1,600 salad bars to schools in the past year – helping provide access to fruits and vegetables for more than 800,000 children.
  • Faith and community organizations have initiated a broad range of activities including walking more than 3.85 million miles, growing 1,500 gardens, helping start 7,000 farmers markets, and bringing fresh produce to 5,600 food pantries. In partnership with Faith United to End Childhood Obesity and Save the Children, more than 1,000 faith and community leaders have started local wellness initiatives.
  • All-Clad donated 1,000 cooking demonstration kits for chefs who are working to improve school nutrition.
  • Hyatt Hotels committed to meeting certain nutritional standards on their children's menus and to reducing calories, sodium, and added sugar by at least 10% across all their food menus by 2016.
  • YMCA of the USA committed to meeting PHA’s child care standards as well as physical activity and nutrition standards for out-of-school-time programs.