DALLAS – First Lady Michelle Obama today joined U.S. athletes, including Team USA track stars Bernard Lagat, Lashinda Demus, Wallace Spearmon and LaShawn Merritt, to announce a nationwide commitment to get more than 1.7 million American children active as part of her Let’s Move! initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity.
Photo courtesy of Manny Flores
Through commitments to the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) by the USOC, U.S. Paralympics, U.S. Olympians Association, and seven National Governing Bodies including USA Track & Field, beginner athletic programming will be introduced to more than 1.7 million kids in 2012. USATF’s Win With Integrity, Track In A Box and youth programs will reach more than 120,000 children in 2012 as part of this effort, which also includes USA Cycling/USA BMX, USA Soccer, USA Swimming, US Tennis Association, USA Field Hockey and USA Volleyball.
Mrs. Obama, who will lead the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer, is working to turn the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games into action by getting more kids healthy and active. In March, Mrs. Obama welcomed Samantha Cameron to the United States by hosting a mini-Olympics event for local school children that also featured Hall of Fame decathlete Dan O’Brien. Two weeks ago, Mrs. Obama spoke at the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Warrior Games.
“This year, 1.7 million young people will be participating in Olympic and Paralympic sports in their communities – many of them for the very first time. And that is so important, because sometimes all it takes is that first lesson, or clinic, or class to get a child excited about a new sport,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “So this summer, together with our children, we can support Team USA not just by cheering them on, but by striving to live up to the example they set. In the end, some of these athletes will bring home the gold, but all of them will make our country proud, and all of them will inspire a generation of young people to get active, to strive for excellence, and to pursue whatever dreams they may hold in their hearts.”
“We are honored and excited to team up with Mrs. Obama and Let’s Move! to battle childhood obesity,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “Win With Integrity and USATF Youth programs are some of our most important and most successful initiatives. We look forward to joining with our Olympic Family colleagues to support the First Lady in this important effort.”
The Let’s Move! initiative is a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative that has sought to engage every sector of society to tackle head-on the many different factors that lead to childhood obesity.
PHA also has created a website, www.ahealthieramerica.org/olympics, to help families find affiliated sports programs in their area.