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First Lady Michelle Obama on the Health of Women and their Families

Ed. note: The full text of the op-ed by First Lady Michelle Obama is printed below. The piece is published today on Women's Health, and can be found here.

To mark the start of National Women's Health Week, First Lady Michelle Obama encourages us all to start thinking about our health, and the health of our families.

National Women’s Health Week is a great time to think about our health, the health of our families, and the changes we’d like to make to our fitness routines and our meal choices.

The truth is, as women, all of us are busy juggling jobs and family responsibilities and everything else, and it’s easy for things like healthy eating and exercise to fall to the bottom of the list.  However, we all know it’s just as important to focus on our own health as it is to focus on the well being of our spouses and, if we’re parents, our kids. After all, we are our kids’ first and best role models, and by setting a good example, we can help them lead healthier lives as well.

There’s no better day than today to start making those healthy changes. You can start small.  Maybe just take a walk with a friend or your family after dinner or try a new class at the gym.  Spend a few extra minutes planning healthy meals. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.

And once you’ve started meeting your goals for yourself and your family, I want to challenge you to go one step further and think about what we can do together to help the entire next generation lead healthier lives.

Just a few months ago, we launched Let’s Move! Active Schools, an unprecedented effort to bring physical education back into our schools. Through this new program, anyone – teachers, parents, administrators, community leaders, and others — in any community can sign up to be a champion to bring a physical activity program into their local school.  All you have to do is go to to find the tools and resources you need to get started—and you don’t need to be a parent to pitch in.  It can be something as simple as creating a before-school playground group, or an after-school fitness club, or instituting five-minute activity breaks throughout the day.

The goal of the initiative is to bring everyone together to make physical activity a norm again for our country’s kids. In an era where children are spending an average of more than seven hours in front of a screen, it’s easy for kids to spend afternoons on the couch rather than at the playground. It’s up to us to help make that shift and show our kids – and remind ourselves – that being active is fun.

So it’s time for all of us to take that extra step, run that extra mile, and reach out and get our kids and our communities back on track toward healthier, happier living. I hope you, the readers of Women’s Health, will join me in this effort.

Visit to learn more about Let's Move! Active Schools and get started.