Let’s Move! and PHA Gear Up for the New Year

Let’s Move! and PHA Gear Up for the New Year

By: CONNIE HO

Today, almost one in every three children in the United States is obese or overweight. Over the past thirty years, childhood obesity rates have tripled. If these problems aren’t addressed, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Because of these mounting health problems addressed by initiatives such as Let’s Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) held its first national summit to fight childhood obesity.

PHA is a nonprofit that focuses on finding solutions to alleviate the childhood obesity crisis. The group brings together leaders from the private and public sector to develop strategies focused on this issue. First lady Michelle Obama, representing the Let’s Move! campaign, gave a statement that reiterated her commitment to promoting physical fitness. She also spoke at the summit, held last month, which was attended by leaders in education, business, politics, among others.

“PHA was pleased with the success of our first Building a Healthier Future Summit–not only did the event sell out, but the conversations were substantive and the energy in the room was palpable,” says Elly Spinweber, deputy director of communications and marketing for PHA. “There is real momentum around solving the problem of childhood obesity.”

The two-day event was comprised of plenary sessions, where organizations like Hyatt Hotels, Kaiser Permanente and YMCA announced major commitments to the childhood obesity fight. Apart from the plenary sessions, there were breakout sessions, where participants addressed how the private sector can help within specific areas such as increasing access to healthy and affordable food or promoting more physical activity.

With events such as this, there are steps being taken to end childhood obesity. Private companies such as Hyatt Hotels have committed to changing their kids’ menus so that healthier options are listed first. Seven supermarket chains have developed plans to expand the fruits and vegetables offered in their stores and lessen the dessert selections.

While there are things that organizations can do on a national basis, the Let’s Move! initiative specifies the steps that individuals can take, especially parents and teachers, to create a healthy lifestyle.

Vinny Rico, a graduate student in education at the University of California, Irvine believes that the Let’s Move! campaign is a beneficial way to motivate children to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

“As a future teacher, I feel the best way to motivate students would be to lead by example,” says Rico, who enjoys practicing yoga and kickboxing during his free time. “For instance, teachers can talk about the exercise they do on a regular basis or talk about healthy snacks.”

The Let’s Move! campaign and the work that PHA is doing are starting to gain momentum. In the upcoming new year, individuals can help support their work in a variety of ways. Visit Let’s Move! or the Partnership for a Healthier America to find out more.

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