Sunday, September 19, 2010

Michelle Obama, the National Football League, and the President's Active Lifestyle Award

On September 8, Michelle Obama and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign and NFL PLAY 60 are teaming up to fight childhood obesity and help kids lead healthier, more active lives.

The announcement was made at Woldenberg Park in New Orleans during the NFL PLAY 60 Youth Football Festival, part of the NFL’s celebration to kick off the 2010 season. After her remarks, the First Lady took part in football drills, along with students from Brock Elementary School and former NFL players Deuce McAllister, Derrick Brooks, and Eddie George. Lending support on the sidelines was country singer Taylor Swift decked out in a patriotic blue and white polka dotted sundress.

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Obama gave a speech in which she encouraged kids around the country to “Play 60” and join her in competing for the President’s Active Lifestyle Award. To earn an award, children need to "engage in physical activity for 60 minutes every day, five days a week, for six weeks." And to show everyone just how much fun it can be, Mrs. Obama sportingly pledged to work toward earning her own award. This is what she said:

I’m going to do it. And I want kids across the country to join me. Actually, I want all you all to join me. Don't just leave it on the kids. I want you all to join me. So in a couple weeks -- I'm not sure when it’s going to start -- starting soon, I'm going to be recording my progress online, so if I start falling behind, I want everyone to be checking on me and make sure that I'm not slacking. Send me emails to shame me into staying on track. So I’m excited about it, and I think it’s something that’s very doable. And the thing is, is that if your kids see you doing it -- your grandparents, uncles, teachers -- they’re going to be engaged. So let’s make this something that we’re all trying to do together.

At the launch of the Let's Move! campaign, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum creating "the first ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity to conduct a review of every single program and policy relating to child nutrition and physical activity."

According to the Let's Move! website, the Task Force’s recommendation focuses on the four pillars of the First Lady's campaign: empowering parents and caregivers; providing healthy food in schools; improving access to healthy, affordable foods; and increasing physical activity.

Of course, the First Lady also emphasizes healthy, organic foods at the White House, as most visibly demonstrated by the Obama's kitchen garden, the first at the White House since the Roosevelt's Victory Garden during World War II.

If you'd like to compete to earn a President's Active Lifestyle award after watching a few NFL games today, please click here and then...get moving! And if you think the First Lady is "falling behind in her progress," send her an email to "shame her into staying on track."