Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week joined first lady Michelle Obama in her effort to raise awareness of childhood obesity by launching the Let’s Move Cities and Towns initiative.
Addressing the audience at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City, Okla., Sebelius encouraged local officials to adopt a long-term, sustainable and holistic approach to fight child obesity in their communities.
“You occupy a unique position in your community,” Michelle Obama told the Conference of Mayors via video. “You can bring communities together around great challenges, you know how to develop effective solutions, and you can spur action at the grassroots unlike anyone else.”
The initiative includes four pillars: helping parents make healthy choices, creating healthy schools, providing access to healthy and affordable food, and promoting physical activity.
“Mayors and local leaders are critical to the Let’s Move! campaign” Sebelius said. “We recognize that every community is different, and every town requires a distinct approach. We designed Let’s Move Cities and Towns to empower local leaders to take steps that will have a real impact on their own unique communities, whether that’s building sidewalks and parks, supporting local farmers markets or bringing healthier food into schools.”
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in the United States have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese. The first lady launched the Let’s Move! campaign in February to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.