FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2011
Contact: OASH Press Office
New York City Celebrates Let’s Move! One Year Anniversary
Tennis Legend and Award-Winning Chef Join Surgeon General and
NYC Health Commissioner at Times Square Event
NEW YORK – U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin today joined New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and a group of celebrities and area teenagers in downtown Manhattan to celebrate First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation, launched one year ago this week.
The Times Square event, hosted by Modell’s Sporting Goods at Times Square, is one of 18 taking place in Let’s Move! Cities and Towns around the nation to highlight progress achieved while inspiring elected officials from all levels of government, schools, faith and community-based organizations, private companies, families and health care professionals to take action. In the past year, nearly 500 communities across the country, including New York, have signed on as Let’s Move! Cities and Towns.
Benjamin and Farley were joined at the event by tennis legend Billie Jean King, award-winning chef Dan Barber, Sesame Street Workshop CEO Gary Knell, Sesame Street’s Elmo, and Jaime Torres, regional director from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Both King and Barber are members of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
The event also allowed teenagers to take part in aerobic dancing workshops with members of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and healthy cooking demonstrations with Barber.
“Over the last year we’ve fundamentally changed the conversation about how we eat, how we move and how we get our food. Communities across the country, like New York City are implementing creative solutions to ending childhood obesity,” said Mrs. Obama. “Together, we’re making a real difference in the lives of children and today there’s a real sense of hope that we can end childhood obesity.”
Launched February 9, 2010, Let’s Move! seeks to put children on the path to a healthy future starting with their earliest months and years by giving parents the information they need to make healthy choices for their families, providing healthier foods in our schools, ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food, and helping kids become more physically active.
“The goal of this initiative is solving the problem of childhood obesity in a generation, so that kids born today will grow up healthier and be better able to pursue their dreams,” Benjamin said.
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native communities, where 40-percent of the children are overweight or obese. If we don’t solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.
In the past year, individuals and organizations around the country have come together to develop innovative solutions and implement new programs. Key accomplishments achieved in the first year of Let’s Move! include:
- For the first time in three decades, the President signed groundbreaking legislation (Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act) into law allowing for changes people had sought for years, and enacting the most meaningful and comprehensive change to food in schools we’ve seen in a generation.
- Walmart, one of the nation’s largest retail stores, announced a new Nutrition Charter that is designed to bring healthier and more affordable foods to the 140 million customers that shop at their stores each week.
- Sport leagues including the National Hockey League, the US Tennis Association and Major League Baseball have teamed up with Let’s Move! to air public service announcements and last summer, launched the Presidential Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Through this outreach, kids are inspired by their favorite athletes to play sports and get active.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has pledged 100-percent of its doctors will screen for BMI and we’re working with family physicians to measure BMI during Well Child Visits. The new Affordable Care Act right now requires all new health insurance plans to cover screening for childhood obesity and counseling from doctors without a co-pay or any other payment.
- Faith groups from all across the country have committed to walking three million miles and hosting 10,000 community gardens or farmers markets.
- Nearly 500 communities across the country have become Let’s Move! Cities and Towns.
To learn more about the Let’s Move! initiative and download action plans for communities, schools and parents, go to www.letsmove.gov.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011