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Dem Mayor Cory Booker and Former GOP Senator Bill Frist Join First Lady Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Initiative

Posted by: Audiegrl

Remarks by the First Lady at Foundation Chair Announcement Conference Call

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the "Let's Move" health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the Let's Move health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Via telephone, 11:02 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: “Well, good morning, everyone. This is Mrs. Obama. It’s good to have you all on the line. Thank you so much for joining us as we take another very important step forward in the work to address America’s childhood obesity crisis. This is a very exciting step for us.

As all of you know, nearly two months ago we launched this magnificent campaign, “Let’s Move.” The nationwide goal of the effort, as all of you know, is to rally this country around a single and very ambitious goal, and that’s to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation so that children born today will grow up at a healthy weight.

And with this initiative, we’ve issued a call to action for the nation. We said let’s move in so many ways. We said let’s move to give parents the information that they need to make good decisions for their kids’ health. We said let’s move to get healthier food into our schools. Let’s move to get more supermarkets into underserved areas, so that every single American in this country has access to fresh and nutritious foods. And we’ve also said let’s move to help our kids be more physically active –- not just in school but outside of school as well.

But we were also clear from the very beginning when we launched this effort that the solution to this problem isn’t going to come from Washington. I have had the pleasure of talking to a number of experts around this issue, and not a single one of them has said that the answer to this problem is for the federal government to tell people what to do. This is going to take all of us getting involved.

It’s going to require a non-partisan effort because there’s nothing partisan about this issue. There’s nothing Democratic or Republican about wanting our kids to lead active and healthy lives. And there’s really nothing liberal or conservative about wanting to reduce the billions of health care dollars we spend each year treating obesity-related conditions.

Ultimately, this solution is going to be about families and communities making manageable, commonsense changes that fit with their budgets that fit with their needs and their individual goals.

But we all have to play a role in making this happen. Families can’t do this alone, which is why we’re bringing together governors, and mayors, and parents, and educators, and doctors, and businesses, community groups, all of us. And I’ve spoken to almost all of these groups over the last month asking them to come together to tackle this challenge once and for all.

And that’s why a new foundation that we’ve created along with this movement — the Partnership for Healthy America — is going to be so critical to these efforts. And I’m very proud of the work that’s been done to pull this foundation together.

The Foundation is going to serve as an independent, non-partisan player that’ll mobilize the private sector, foundations, government officials, the media and others around the goals of the “Let’s Move” campaign.

The Foundation will seek truly meaningful commitments from all of these players, and will do something very critical — and that is measure the success of these efforts and hold us all accountable.

The Foundation is going to also connect potential partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors, working to support the best, the most innovative programs in our communities -– and working to replicate these success stories all across the country. And that’s really the key to this. As I’ve traveled around, we have many of the answers already at our fingertips. If you go into states and cities across this country, many are already working to bring their local solutions to this problem. We need to highlight and elevate those successes. This Foundation is going to be critical in playing a role in that. So it’s very exciting.

I have agreed to serve as the honorary chair of this Foundation. And today, I am pleased and very proud to announce that two incredibly outstanding individuals –- Mayor Cory Booker and Senator Bill Frist -– have agreed to serve as the Foundation’s honorary vice chairs.

As all of you know, Senator Frist and Mayor Booker are both distinguished public servants who are passionately committed to the health and well-being of not just our young people but this country.

Let's Move!Over the past four years, Mayor Booker has made tremendous strides transforming the city of Newark. He’s done work to increase affordable housing, doing a fabulous job of reducing crime in the city, renovating the parks, playgrounds and recreation centers to provide safe places for children in the city to be active. And he’s committed to making Newark a model for what a city can do to address childhood obesity.

So I’m so happy to have Mayor Booker with us. I’m thrilled that he’s agreed to bring the kind of energy, that contagious energy that he has, to focus on this issue and lead this new Foundation.

In addition to being a renowned heart surgeon and lung transplant surgeon, Senator Frist served, as you all know, as the Senate Majority Leader from 2003 to 2007.

Since he left the Senate, he’s devoted himself to health and humanitarian efforts around the world, leading medical mission trips to Africa and founding an organization called Hope Through Healing Hands to improve health care in developing nations.

In the Senate, he took the lead in sponsoring legislation to address childhood obesity, and I am truly delighted that he’s agreed to bring his passion and expertise to this Foundation.

I also want to recognize the diverse and talented group of advocates, business leaders, dedicated philanthropists who have come together to serve on the board of this Foundation.

Specifically, I’d like to thank the Board’s Chair, James Gavin, for offering his strong leadership to ensure that this Foundation attracts the kind of commitments that are going to be essential to reach our goals.

And I also want to end by thanking the extraordinary organizations that have come together to organize the fund, and fund this new Foundation. We would not be here if it weren’t for these organizations, and they include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, Nemours, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Brookings Institute, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

This is a phenomenal group of organizations, people, of leaders that represent all of America. I am thrilled that all of you have come together to support this effort. This is why I’m confident that we can move the mark on this issue, because this effort and this issue means so much that we’ve just been able to bring together a group of individuals that has been working on this issue for decades, that understands these challenges in a very powerful way, and will have the commitment and the passion that we need to move this issue forward.

So I am grateful, truly grateful, to all of you — not just for being on this call, but for taking the time that it’s going to require to get us to our goals.

So with that, it is now my pleasure to turn this meeting over to Senator Frist. Senator Frist, I know you’re there. Thank you, it’s good to have you onboard. I’m very excited.”

END, 11:10 A.M. EDT

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First Lady Michelle Obama Teams with US Soccer Foundation, Major League Soccer, Women’s Professional Soccer to Combat Childhood Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama (L) participates in a youth soccer clinic with Luis Sanchez (C), a fourth grader of Barnard Elementary School in Washington, and Washington Freedom Soccer Team mascot Glory (R) March 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

In support of her Let’s Move! campaign, the US Soccer Foundation, Major League Soccer, Women’s Professional Soccer, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health has joined forces with First Lady Michelle Obama to eliminate childhood obesity in one generation and commits to getting more children active, playing or moving for 60 minutes a day. On Friday they are holding a soccer clinic in Washington at the City Center DC and the First Lady will be in attendance.

This event is being held to expand outreach and participation in youth soccer and education efforts on the importance of eating well and staying active. After the clinic is finished, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Sport Court® will donate the soccer fields to urban soccer organizations in the U.S. The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Charitable Arm of Soccer in the U.S., will disassemble and ship the courts to their final destinations.

First Lady Michelle Obama (L) participates in a youth soccer clinic with Luis Sanchez (C), a fourth grader of Barnard Elementary School in Washington, and Washington Freedom Soccer Team mascot Glory (R) March 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. The clinic is to promote the national fight against childhood obesity and in support for the first ladys Lets Move campaign that encourage children to get 60 minutes of active play each day.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

The U. S. Soccer Foundation provides grants focused on developing players, coaches and referees and building or enhancing fields and soccer complexes, with a special emphasis on youth in economically disadvantaged urban communities.

MLS W.O.R.K.S. will support the First Lady and the White House by expanding our existing programs and creatively developing new ideas to help fight childhood obesity,” said JoAnn Neale, MLS executive vice president. “Soccer is the perfect sport to keep children active and fit. We are committed to this campaign and will work with our clubs at the grassroots level to increase the accessibility of soccer, support local youth programs and create play spaces to encourage children to engage in physical activity.”

Soccer is the number one sport among America’s youth, with 4 million young boys and girls registered to play across the country.


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Fox’s Mike Huckabee Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama on Child Obesity

Post by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama taped an interview with Fox News’ Mike Huckabee that aired tonight in which she discussed her efforts to battle child obesity, an grave problem she believes “we can really fix.” Huckabee believes in the First Lady’s efforts, in part due to his own struggles with obesity.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Travels to Philadelphia: Making Healthy Food Accessible & Affordable

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the "Let's Move" health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks on the Let's Move health initiative at Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


With Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in tow, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Philadelphia yesterday as part of the Let’s Move! campaign, a nationwide effort to rally the country around one goal, ending the epidemic of childhood obesity.

During her remarks at Fairhill Elementary School, Mrs. Obama applauded the city of Philadelphia for their “stand” to end childhood obesity:

Six years ago, when this city had fewer supermarkets per person than almost anywhere in America, all right, that was six years ago, when many folks had no access to healthy foods; six years ago many neighborhoods had alarming rates of obesity-related conditions like heart disease and diabetes — the folks in this city, you all could have decided that you had an unsolvable problems on your hands, right? You could have done that. You could have decided that these problems were just too big and too complicated and too entrenched and thrown your hands up and walked away.

But instead you all took a stand, a really important, collaborative stand. You decided first that no family in this city should be spending a fortune on high-priced, low-quality foods because they have no other options. You decided that no child should be consigned to a life of poor health because of what neighborhood his or her family lives in. And you decided that you weren’t going to just talk about the problem or wring your hands about the problems, but you were going to act.

And that’s precisely the kind of determination, the kind of commitment that we need to address the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. And this issue is an issue of great concern to me, and I’ve said this before, not because I’m First Lady — or not just because I’m First Lady of this country — but because I’m a mother, and I care about my kids and I care about all of our kids. And I know that this issue is a great concern to all of you, everyone around this country. We all care about our kids. That’s why last week we enthusiastically and proudly launched “Let’s Move.” (Applause.) “Let’s Move” is a nationwide campaign to rally this country around one single but ambitious goal, and that is to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that the kids born today grow up with a healthy weight. Simple but ambitious.

Mrs. Obama also announced a new part of Let’s Move! — the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a multi-million dollar public and private investment to eliminate food deserts in America within seven years:


“So with your success here in Pennsylvania, what you’ve shown us is that when we provide the right support and incentives, then business leaders like Pat Burns and Jeff Brown, they’re going to take the chance to invest in our communities. And when we bring fresh, healthy food to communities, what do we learn? People will buy it, right? People will buy it. These stores are turning a profit. And what’s going on is that they’re doing well by doing good. Isn’t that something? (Applause.)

So it’s because of this example that part of “Let’s Move” we created this Healthy Food Financing Initiative that’s modeled on what’s been going on here. And as Secretary Geithner said, with a modest initial investment of about $400 million a year, we’re going to use that money to leverage hundreds of millions more from private and non-profit sectors to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved communities all across this country. If you can do it here, we can do it around the country. (Applause.) And our goal is ambitious. It’s to eliminate food deserts in America completely in seven years. (Applause.)

Again, we know this is ambitious, but we also know that tackling the issue of accessibility and affordability is key to achieving the overall goal of solving childhood obesity in this generation.”

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To learn more about what you can do to help solve the childhood obesity epidemic – visit LetsMove.gov and become a fan of Let’s Move! on FaceBook.

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