Today marks the one year anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, an initiative to stem our nation’s growing rate of childhood obesity within a generation.

The fact that one out of every three American kids is growing up either obese or overweight has serious ramifications not only for our children’s future, but for our country’s. Today, obese children are now being diagnosed with health problems once only seen in adults, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. They are also at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and several forms of cancer. The costs of obesity are not just reflected in the health and well-being of our children, the financial toll on our nation is also staggering. The direct and indirect costs associated with obesity in the U.S. are currently estimated at $117 billion annually and are growing every year.

The good news is that obesity is a preventable condition. The evidence is clear that by investing in child nutrition and other efforts to address the causes of obesity, children will be able to lead long and productive lives. More broadly, tackling childhood obesity will result in significant cost-savings for our healthcare system, and lays the groundwork to ensure the future of our nation’s workforce and military.

The Let’s Move initiative provides parents and communities the information and tools they need to create environments that support healthy choices. This includes providing healthier meals in our schools and ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. The campaign also encourages kids to be physically active through the HealthierUS School Challenge, and the Play 60 partnership with the NFL and the America’s Great Outdoors campaign.

In the last year, the Let’s Move Campaign has been enormously successful, achieving an impressive list of accomplishments, including:

  • Schools in neighborhoods across the country have signed up to help students get fit through the HealthierUS School Challenge;
    Increasing kids physical activity through initiatives with the NFL, NHL and through the Let’s Move Outside campaign. In addition, hundreds of communities are working with grass roots organizations and local leaders to build safe places for kids to play outside and safe routes for kids to walk and bike to school;
  • Three of the largest food service providers in the nation have committed to improving the food they provide to schools to meet recommended levels of fat, sugar, and whole grains over the next five years, and to double the fruits and vegetables they serve over the next 10 years; and
  • Nearly 2,000 chefs have volunteered to help schools in their community become healthier through the Chefs Move to Schools program, which pairs professional chefs with schools to help educate kids about making healthy food choices and engages the entire school community to create healthier school menus.

Moving forward, the Let’s Move Campaign will continue to bring together various stake-holders, including policy-makers, parents, and children. Nearly 500 communities have signed up for Let’s Move Cities and Towns. Through this program community leaders will bring Let’s Move to their communities and commit to make significant changes to improve their communities’ health. Community leaders will work with schools, parents, and business leaders on this initiative.

Watch the First Lady speak about Child Nutrition on this morning’s episode of Today:

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