There is a movement taking place all across the country - a movement that will one day end childhood obesity and provide our children a healthy future through the power of play. Leading the way are concerned parents everywhere, including one very committed mom.
First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama is lending her voice to this critically important issue. This past week, Mrs. Obama launched her "Let's Move" initiative, a national campaign to end childhood obesity within one generation. Making sure children have somewhere to play every day is a critical part of this program, and you understand how important healthy eating and exercise are for children.
As recess shrinks, open spaces disappear, and electronic media capture more and more of our children's time, dangerous weight gain has become a bigger problem than ever before. Thankfully, community leaders and national figures like First Lady, Michelle Obama, have taken up the cause and launched the new "Let's Move" initiative, www.letsmove.gov.
Recently, Ms. Obama shared some troubling information on the issue:
"The statistics never fail to take my breath away. Right now, nearly one third of children in America are overweight or obese – one in three... If we continue on our current path, in ten years nearly 50 percent of all Americans will be obese – not just overweight, but obese."
This is one of the most important arguments for the importance of creating safe spaces for our children to run and play. Kids today need playgrounds where they can get the exercise that keeps them physically fit, mentally active, and socially engaged. Ensuring that they have the time and the spaces to build muscles and friends today will help prevent the worrisome, but avoidable, obesity epidemic of tomorrow. As First Lady Obama says:
"Ultimately, folks like you know that leadership is about having the foresight – and the courage – to make those sacrifices and investments in the short run that pay big dividends – often paying for themselves many times over – in the long run. And that is precisely what happens when we undertake smart, strategic efforts to help our kids lead active, healthy lives right from the beginning."
At IFC, our vision is for inclusive fitness, recreation, sport and leisure spaces to exist within walking distance of every child in America. In small towns, rural areas, and big cities all over the country, we would like to help communities achieve the big dividends that the First Lady mentions.