Let’s Move! is a campaign to end childhood obesity in the United States. The campaign was started by First Lady Michelle Obama. The initiative has the initially stated goal of “solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.”
The campaign was announced on February 9, 2010 by the First Lady. She indicated the campaign would encourage healthier food in schools, better food labeling and more physical activity for children. On the same date, President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum creating the Task Force on Childhood Obesity to review current programs and develop a national action plan.
Let’s Move! seeks to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity and encourage a healthy lifestyle through “a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative that addresses all of the various factors that lead to childhood obesity [. . .] engaging every sector of society that impacts the health of children to provide schools, families and communities the simple tools they need to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.”
A song, “Move Your Body”, was released to promote the campaign called Let’s Move! Flash Workout. The song was by Beyoncé Knowles and Swizz Beatz, and the video was shot in a school cafeteria where Beyoncé was dancing with children.
Body mass index (or BMI) is a measurement of weight in relation to height that can help to determine weight status. In children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) determine that a child is overweight if he/she is above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile and obese if at or above the 95th percentile.
The CDC indicates that there are several factors that can contribute to childhood obesity: genetic factors; behavioral factors including energy intake, physical activity and sedentary behavior; and environmental factors. Overweight and obesity pose many potential risks and consequences: psychological; cardiovascular disease; among additional risks including asthma, hepatic steatosis, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes. Today nearly one in five children in the U.S. between ages 6–19 are obese, and one in three are overweight. The childhood obesity rate tripled from 1980-1999 creating an epidemic and a generation where children may have shorter life spans than their parents.
The Let’s Move! initiative focuses on the reform of behavioral factors and environmental factors by focusing on active lifestyles and healthy eating through community involvement, including but not limited to schools, parents, and healthcare providers.