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Let’s Move! Anniversary: Four Years of Showing How We’re Moving towards a Healthier Nation

Four years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched a national movement, Let’s Move!, to create a healthier future for kids and families. Four years later, Let’s Move! has moved a nation in a healthier direction, and this nation is on the move. This healthier movement is becoming the new norm, and it is happening all over the country. From child care centers through high school and after school, from sun up to sun down, the country is moving faster every day towards a healthier future.

Over the last four years, Let’s Move! has worked to create more opportunities for physical activity and to improve the overall quality of school meals. Across the nation, communities have gained access to healthy and affordable food, and families have gained the information needed to make more nutritional choices. Businesses are marketing healthier foods to kids, and consumer demand is shifting toward healthier products.  

First Lady Michelle Obama, with Sesame Street Muppets Elmo and Rosita, makes a "Let's Move!" announcement about marketing healthier foods to children, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Oct. 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

A look back at some of our year-four milestones and collaborations:

First Lady Michelle Obama proposes a toast during a "Let's Move!" Drink Up festival at Watertown High School in Watertown, Wis., Sept. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon) 

  • The United States Tennis Association (USTA) made a commitment to PHA in support of Let’s Move! The USTA will create at least 5,000 new kid-sized tennis courts in the U.S. over three years, with an emphasis on funding projects in diverse communities, as well as train at least 15,000 new coaches, teachers, and volunteers to support the USTA’s Ten and Under Tennis program. 
  • In 2010, the Partnership for a Healthier America and First Lady Michelle Obama announced a commitment with 16 companies in the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) pledging to take action to reduce 1 trillion product calories by 2012 and 1.5 trillion product calories by 2015. Last month, it was announced that these food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, thus exceeding the HWCF’s 2015 goal by more than 400 percent, and this translates into a reduction of 78 calories per person in the United States per day. 
  • USDA implemented new school lunch and breakfast standards starting in the 2012-2013 academic year and implementation of the new Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards will start in the 2014-2015 school year. These standards mean the quality of food sold in school vending machines and a la carte lines will change significantly. 
  • The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP), and the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) announced that they are voluntarily coming together to support the health of our nation’s children by incorporating healthy food and physical activity into all subject areas. 
  • June 2013 marked the second anniversary of USDA’s “MyPlate” campaign aimed at helping children build a healthy plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and fat-free or low-fat dairy at every meal. In collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America, five major recipe companies came together in February 2013 to provide thousands of recipes that follow the MyPlate guidelines
  • We launched Let’s Move! Active Schools (LMAS) in an effort to get kids moving before, during, and after school and to reintegrate physical activity into their daily lives. Just one year later, more than 6,000 schools across the country have signed up to participate. LMAS is a comprehensive program that empowers physical education teachers, classroom teachers, principals, administrators, and parents to create active environments that enable all students to get moving and reach their full potential.

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a musical run and musical hoops activity with students during a back to school "Let's Move! Active Schools" event at Orr Elementary School in Washington, D.C., Sept. 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) 

  • The First Lady joined DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to announce that all 111 DC Public Schools signed up for Let’s Move! Active Schools. The First Lady was joined by former NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, U.S. track and field Olympian Allyson Felix, U.S. Olympic gymnast Dominque Dawes, and students from Orr Elementary to celebrate. In addition, Reebok’s BOKS program joined Let’s Move! Active Schools as a collaborating organization. 
  • As part of Let’s Move Outside!, the National Park Service (NPS) issued healthy food standards and sustainable food guidelines that will increase the number of healthy, nutritious food options at national parks across the country.  Through the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative, NPS collaborated with park food and beverage operators, concession industry leaders, and health experts to create these standards, which will be integrated into all new concessions contracts. 
  • Over 12,000 child care providers have signed up with Let’s Move! Child Care and are committed to instilling healthy habits among our nation’s preschoolers that will last a lifetime. Many providers are meeting all recommended best practices, including making sure young children are getting the recommended 1-2 hours of activity every day and fruits and vegetables at every meal. 
  • Through Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, 400 cities reaching over 63 million people are using evidence-based practices to transform communities to make the healthy choice the easy choice for their residents. In July 2013, Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties celebrated its anniversary by convening local elected officials from across the country at the White House to discuss progress and best practices to continue improving the health of communities nationwide. 
  • Across the country, we’ve seen more than 2,800 salad bar units installed in schools, thanks to Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools – giving more than a million kids access to more fruits and vegetables.  
  • Last but not least, to support one of our key messages of how nutrition can impact performance, we developed and released a PSA of the First Lady with some Miami Heat players during their visit to the White House. The clip was picked up all across the media from Good Morning America, to CNN, ESPN, Buzzfeed, VH1 and many more. Within just one week of the release, through the Let’s Move!  Blog and social media and First Lady social media accounts, the YouTube Video received more than 3,500,000 views, the blog received more than 11,781 views, the First Lady’s Instagram photo teaser received 27.6k likes, and Let’s Move! and First Lady tweets about the video were retweeted by fans and followers including LeBron James.


Previous accomplishments and commitments since the launch of Let’s Move!:

  • 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 strong 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. 
  • 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. According to the companies, 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. 
  • 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 across the store, not just their brands,  by 2015.  In addition, they committed to creating price parity between healthier options, such as whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta, with the less healthy options so families don’t have to  choose affordability over health.  Lastly, WalMart developed a healthy seal so families can easily identify which products are actually healthy. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • In the summer of 2012 and 2013, the First Lady hosted the 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 each of the last two years. The goal of the event is to inspire kids and families to cook, and to celebrate young people who are putting together delicious healthy dishes at home. 
  • 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 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. 
  • Through the HealthierUS School Challenge, more than 6,600 schools now meet high standards in nutrition and fitness – and the list continues to grow, surpassing all goals set for the program. 
  • 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.
  • The American Beverage Association fulfilled their commitment to put clear calorie labels on the front of their products to give consumers better information. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.