On Thursday 18th November, 2010, First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama paid a visit to Maple avenue school a local charter school in Newark New Jersey as part of her efforts to promote Let’s Move, her initiative and campaign to reduce childhood obesity in Children. She was accompanied on her visit by Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker one of the two honorary vice chairmen of the Partnership for a Healthy America, an organization set up by Mrs. Obama to champion the Let’s Move cause. The other chairman is Senator Bill Frist.
National and local Media coverage of the event from Associated Press/Washington post, Star ledger and other online news organizations was positive.
Let’s move seeks to attack the problem of childhood obesity by educating and informing students and parents about the dangers of childhood obesity such as heart disease, diabetes and so on. The initiative provides information and advise about healthy eating and exercise as natural simple solutions to the issue.
The visit showed how having children organize their own community outreaches to other kids could be effective in reaching them with messages that are important to their generation. Part of the visit involved a meeting by members of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board – Chassidy Sumler, 16, of Flora, Mississippi and Robert Hsu, 17, of Novi, Michigan who informed the first lady and Mayor Booker about their efforts at a special event with them.
They were also on hand to speak to their fellow kids at the event at Maple Avenue School. They shared their own experiences and methods such as eating habit pledges, that they were using in their communities to inspire health eating and exercise among their peers. The youth advocacy group is 2.3. Million children strong and is a national alliance. The alliance also has a healthy school program to provide participatory input by schools and adults in their efforts.
Mrs. Obama provided the children with practical suggestions such as reducing visits to MacDonald’s, reducing television and video game time and using the stairs instead of the elevator and so on as practical examples of simple things that could help. These are practical solutions that children can relate to in their everyday lives. She told them her children at the White house now use the stairs instead of the elevator.
The Centers for disease control and prevention’s (CDC) obesity statistics for 2009 shows New Jersey with the 3rd highest rate ranking just behind Alabama and Oregon which were first and second respectively.
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