The SparkPeople Blog

We're Ready to 'Move' on the First Lady's Childhood Obesity Initiative

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/9/2010 11:16 AM   :  214 comments   :  28,055 Views

SparkPeople is incredibly excited about this morning's launch of Michelle Obama's childhood obesity initiative. As the largest and most active weight loss and fitness website in America, SparkPeople is ready--and able--to fully support this initiative.

Announced last month and explained in detail this week, the plan--called Let's Move--would unite federal, state and local governments with businesses and the nonprofit sector to provide healthier food in schools, more ways for kids to get moving, and supply better access to affordable, nutritious food in all communities--and call for more accurate food labeling.

"Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled; nearly one third of children in America are now overweight or obese," the East Wing said in a statement. The First Lady cited the latest statistics: Around 32% of children and teens are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; about one in five of children ages 6 to 19 are obese.

These statistics are beyond alarming.

But we believe that with so many people and organizations across America joining the fight, there is an incredible opportunity to help end childhood obesity in our lifetime. We’ve seen some promising trends in the SparkPeople community that give us much hope, too. I’ll tell you about some of those.

This is what we know.

  • We know SparkPeople has developed a revolutionary program that helps people make a true healthy and lasting lifestyle change by taking small manageable steps over time, and by coming together to support one another in fun and motivating ways.

  • We know that when parents join SparkPeople and change their lifestyles, this has a strong positive influence on their kids. (I often tear up while reading from the many letters, emails and Goodies we receive from successful members telling us about the positive impact SparkPeople has made on their families, especially their children.) We also see one of the most common reasons people cite for finally making the decision and committing to losing weight is so that they can be healthy role models for their kids, so that their kids won’t have to endure the same struggles they have.

  • We know the power of online and real-world social networks, and studies have backed us up on that. It's effective, yet as easy as one SparkPeople member spreading the Spark by telling a friend--also a mother--about the site. As a result, that new member influences the health of her entire family, and she is making a direct and lasting impact on childhood obesity.

  • From our past experience teaching a SparkPeople program to kids, we know that kids can be the family leaders and influence their parents to start eating healthier and moving more. Back in 2007, we asked for your help, and now we're asking again.

    In December and January, SparkPeople surveyed members about their children's and families' healthy habits. The SparkPeople Healthy Kids Survey found some great "habits of healthy families," which show the power of how one person--a mom, dad, or a child--can influence and improve the health of their families:

    When we asked our members who are parents how they get their kids to eat healthy foods, the top three responses (all around 60% of response or more) were:

    • "I set a good example and eat healthy foods myself."
    • "I try to make healthy foods taste good."
    • "I talk to my kids about the benefit of healthy foods."

    We also asked: As you’ve focused more on healthy eating, have you noticed a change for the better in your kids' diet? More than half (54%) said yes! Another 32% said maybe but not sure, and only 13% said no.

    In terms of exercise, we saw an amazing correlation. Nine of 10 respondents exercise regularly, and there was a close correlation between the number of their kids who exercised or participated in physical activity at least half the week (13%) or most or everyday (more than 66%)--a total of almost 80% of all of their kids.

    These results are powerful in that they show the true power of how one person’s actions touch and motivate others, whether it is their children, a friend or partner, or even a complete stranger.

    I'm telling you all of this to get to the bottom line: If we all make ending childhood obesity a priority and commit to the issue, we KNOW that Americans can fix this problem that so threatens our future and the lives of our children. We know that our collective actions will continue to inspire positive, healthy action in others.

    We know that no one group or person's efforts is enough. That's why we believe that having the White House and the First Lady involved can bring awareness and action to a new level. On an issue that touches us all, regardless of our political beliefs, it would be amazing to have SparkPeople members come together to participate in this effort!

    The children are our future, and even if you're not a parent, you are still affected--and you can still make a difference. For now, keep doing what you're doing, taking small steps to reach your greater goal. Let this be a great motivation to continue reaching your goals one healthy choice and one workout at a time--and then spread the spark far and wide. Your daily actions and words impact more people than you realize!

    Parents are an active subcommunity on SparkPeople, and if you're not sure where to start, join a SparkTeam. The very active Kids Health SparkTeam has almost 46,000 members, and the Moms and Dads at Home SparkTeam has more than twice that.

    At SparkPeople.com, and our other sites, SparkTeens.com and BabyFit.com, we have built great tools, content, resources and community to help provide solutions to help Americans (and the world!) lose weight and improve their health and lives. (Check out our Healthy Kids and Families Center with great articles and content, or here for great healthy kid-friendly recipes!) We plan to fully support the First Lady’s childhood obesity initiative in ongoing ways to help end childhood obesity in our lifetimes!

    What are some ways you can help in your community? What would you like to see SparkPeople do to support the cause? Have you had childhood obesity touch your life?
    Photo of First Lady Michelle Obama courtesy of the White House.


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    Comments

    • 214
      This "initiative" is a fiasco in my local school system. It's not a big issue for me because my daughter takes her lunch almost every day but it's causing a HUGE problem because it doesn't differentiate the amount of food/ types of food allowed for a student based on his or her activity schedule, i.e. 200 lb football players and 150 lb track team members are given the same number of calories and the same amount of protein as a sedentary student. They're starving by the time school is finished and unable to function properly at practice. Nutrition is definitely NOT a "one size fits all" science and school dieticians should have the flexibility to make changes based on the needs of the students and their activity levels. - 10/10/2012   11:10:56 AM
    • 213
      I am not into politics, but I have a deep respect for what the Obama family is trying to do. They are going back to the basics and fundamental issues, morals and ethics which are necessary to preserve the welfare of our world. The work with children is essential, because they will be the next leaders. Children are sponges and learn by example. It is up to us to set a good one. - 3/12/2012   11:20:51 AM
    • TRULYVISIBLE
      212
      I think there should be no school lunches provided at school. Every parent should pack a lunch and snacks for their kids. Schools will always go cheap over healthy. It costs a fortune and the money can be used for other things like building a swimming pool or other athletic endeavors. Parents can be provided literature on how to prepare a healthy lunch. We need to bring responsibility back to the parents and the individual child and stop blaming outside forces. There will always be junk food and soda in this world. I think the schools should remove all candy machines and soda machines from schools and replace with a snack store with fresh fruits and other healthy items. - 1/29/2012   6:31:13 PM
    • FOXDEN02
      211
      My boys have always gone to a Christian school until this last year. I was expecting healthy foods - not. pizza - hamburgers, fries, taco's. Oh yes they have healthy options - salad makings daily - but let's face it = what would the average child choose? especially the very children that should be choosing the salad bar? I'm agast that the junk is allowed. Even my 11 year old said over and over - I can't believe how unhealthy breakfast and lunches are.
      Can Michelle approach that in her reform?
      Another culprit is sugar. Google Youtube "the bitter truth" and listen - long but worth it. The process foods provided at the school all have fructose - or variations of sugar in them - even the premade omletes ~!
      - 7/25/2011   7:58:54 AM
    • SHANTRA
      210
      Hmmm... how about a team of Sparkpeople motivational speakers to talk to parent teacher associations, business groups, chambers of commerce to light The Spark backed up by enrolling the kids in Spark Teens. - 5/11/2010   3:03:55 PM
    • GUARDIANANGEL31
      209
      You also need to educate parents on right choices (eating and exercise). People, especially children, learn better by example than what someone tells them.About 80- 90% of people do what is shown and, possibly, learn from others mistakes and see what something has done to someone they care about -- so they do the opposite. Also, put support systems in place to help make these changes -- so you have a higher success rate and, hopefully, prevent the problem to begin with. - 4/20/2010   4:29:25 AM
    • 208
      I am a product of childhood obesity. I do want better for my girls than I when growing up and is why I am trying to get myself healthy all around. I want to be a role model for my girls but also for the 100 7th graders who walk through my door every year. The program 'Let's Move' is a great plan and I hope that it will work out to change the food that is served in schools. For many of my students this is the only meal they get and it would be nice for it to be a healthy one. - 3/9/2010   12:18:07 PM
    • CEDWARDS4
      207
      As an elementary school principal, I must comment regarding the discussion on school lunches. Trust me, this is NOT the problem. Why? Because the National School Lunch program is heavily monitored for what you can and cannot serve students. The meals are under scrutiny for how they meet USDA guidelines. Children do not become obese or even overweight from school lunch. Even with a reduction in PE time across the country, we cannot blame that for childhood obesity. We must take responsibility as parents for what happens with our children--period. Think about it logically, do we blame our jobs as adults if we are overweight? If you ate semi-healthy, PORTION CONTROLLED meals for breakfast and lunch at work and didn't go outside and run around for a hour during your workday, would that be the reason you are overweight? No. We would never think to blame our job. We know we eat unhealthy meals at home or on the weekends. We know that we overeat frequently. We eat highly processed foods and shouldn't. We spend little of our "off work" time engaged in exercise. It must be the same for our children. Education begins at home, I'm just saying. - 2/27/2010   6:43:53 AM
    • 206
      After reading some of the comments, I'd like to suggest expanding initiatives such as the Pound for Pound Challenge associated with Biggest Loser (as much as I have issues with the TV show) are great to act as a redistribution of sorts within a country that contains people who are on extremes - those who cannot afford food and are undernourished and underweight, and the majority who are overnourished and overfed.

      To address the trend of higher-fat/trans-fat foods only being available in food banks, many food banks including my local one are including gardens like the one at the White House so that for 1/3 of the year at least fresh produce can be included in the food bank's distribution. ( http://www.goodcheer.org/garden.htm
      l
      )

      One issue I'd like to correct from the comment page is about McD's and Ronald McDonald House Charities (the global organization). Many great films/books about the link of fast food to the obesity epidemic have been made in recent years, and I fully support the truth in them. However, having lived at the RMH for almost a year while my daughter underwent cancer treatment, I learned that only 10% of the charities costs come from McD's (the corporation's name is the main weight behind it - oh bad pun!). The other 90% come from volunteers and donations. So, it is a misnomer to say the corporation is misleading anyone by donating to children's charities. Before I lived there, I was under the impression you had to eat a lot of hamburgers and fries in order to support the essential homes to families of children facing a crisis. Not true.

      Finally, I am thrilled to have found SparkPeople, because the support, tools, and inspiration are fabulous for making real change. Food can be the best medicine for what ails us, if we only learn what to do and can free ourselves of the starvation/deprivation diets vs. couch potato/binge eating ways of life with all the stigma attached. Every one of us can be empowered to work toward health.

      - 2/25/2010   3:02:57 AM
    • THEMOTIVATOR1
      205
      Health matters and health reform has gone on for decades. What I find is that the health care providers and health insurance companies need to come up with suggestions to solve the issues together. There needs to be some kind of incentive to get people interested . I have discussed health issue with many including local recreation center perasonal of having Saturday morning activities for the kinds and offered to volunteer my time to help - 2/17/2010   10:15:11 AM
    • ELECTRALYTE
      204
      I love this! It's about time. Americans need to demand better quality food and provide more ways for children to get exercise. - 2/16/2010   7:39:09 PM
    • 203
      I am super excite dabout this program. I am a class room teacher who sees everyday how unhealthy my students are. I am making an effort to work with my kids daily. I am a member of the quickfire spark team and I try to do that every day with my students and if it is not appropriate for them we modify or do a favorite past activity. If I don't do one the kids are begging for it. I was even introduced to a parent of one of my spelling students the other day and she said "oh your the one that drinks all the water during the day." Obviously that made an impression on that child. I love my job and sometimes it falls on me to be the roll model for these kids when their parents cant or wont. I incurage everyone to adopt a child in your community and help them by being a good roll model you would be surprised how many kids really need your help. - 2/16/2010   2:18:53 PM
    • 202
      It takes a village to raise a child. I believe that, but it starts at home. I like the Obamas as a good example of how to raise children. Keep up the good work! - 2/16/2010   11:01:32 AM
    • 201
      I'd love to see SparkPeople nutrition and fitness trackers available to kids younger than teens. They don't need diet or weight loss help, of course, but there is something very motivating about seeing those fitness minutes rack up week after week and seeing how long of a streak they can get of eating 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day (such as the Quick Track option on the SparkTeens). My tween is more online than my teen, but even my 7 year old would find benefit of tracking (with my help). - 2/16/2010   10:22:10 AM
    • 200
      First of all, I believe alot of the childhood obesity problem is related to alot of the garbage food chains that are out there. The biggest food chain in the world is making you believe they are doing good by donating 10 cents from every happy meal to childrens charaties!!! What a load!!! . It is pure crap, yet we feel we can provide it to our children as a treat!!!! Parents are so busy these days with working and everything else,that they are buying pre made dinners or fast foods from the supermarkets, that are usually very high in fat and sodium. I am sure some children are eating this stuff every day!!!! The food is toxic and should be banned. If parents would just take the time and prepare dinners in bulk to be frozen, we would not have this problem with poisoning our children. Wake up people and put the fast food chains out of business. - 2/16/2010   8:09:41 AM
    • LIVINGCFS
      199
      I'm just elaborating on what some of the others are also saying. As kids, we had PE classes 3 times a week. You had after hours netball, athletics, whatever. Even if you were the worst player ever, you still had a "team". We walked to the shops and back. It was at least 4km's there and back, but we didn't feel it. We played in the back yard. I was born chubby but we ran round and round the house over and over again to try and catch each other. I may have been chubby, but I could still outrun a lot of the kids.

      Maybe we should look at family values and making time to do the "old" things. Sure, it's not the easiest route, but it's worth it! - 2/16/2010   6:40:36 AM
    • 198
      This is a great idea for Michelle Obama to concentrate on. While it is really important to address kid's poor eating habits, part of the emphasis needs to be on the PARENTS since they are buying most of the food the kids eat! Stop it with all the junk food! If you don't buy it and have it sitting around the house, they won't eat it (and neither will you). - 2/13/2010   7:33:27 PM
    • AKRONSASSENACH
      197
      When I grow up, I want to be Michelle Obama. She is an awesome woman! - 2/13/2010   2:06:31 PM
    • KZD2008
      196
      I am hoping that Michelle Obama can influence parents across the country to make a change for their children. As a society we need to demand better food. I had an interesting/sad experience at the grocery store the other day. The cashier asked if I had found everything I was looking for. I replied no because I was looking for low sodium red beans. She asked me if I tried their nutrition section. I told her that it was a shame that the nutrition section was so small. That the nutrition section should be almost the entire store with the junk/processed food being the small section. She replied that it could be if everyone had the will power that I had. People wouldn't need to have will power if the only food available was made without all the unhealthy additives/preservatives that science has developed to extend the shelf life of food and make it supposedly taste better for less money. The companies are saving money and making huge profits at the expense of their customers health. The customers have to say enough is enough. - 2/12/2010   11:18:22 PM
    • 195
      There are some things that I have noticed that have changed since I was a kid that may be promoting young obeisity. One thing, living on the East Coast is that the school bus stops at every single house (instead of making the chilld walk to an organized location), our kids do not play outside but instead game and PE (Physical Education) has been dwindled down to once every two weeks PLUS most children eat at the most popular fast food joint (McDonalds). I have a co-worker who is from India and he raised his son in the US and he said his child pointed out the big "M" for McDonalds and was begging for his Dad to stop and get him a "Kids Meal".

      I LOVE Michelle Obama!!! - 2/12/2010   9:33:38 PM
    • 194
      I fully support this Idea. I work at a public elementary school as a teacher assistant where some of the kids are overweight or obese. Some of the problems i see is, teachers taking away kids recess for not doing homework. also children are so restricted in what they can do doing recess. The kids are not allowed to run or kick the ball. I would fully support creating a spark kids website. I have told many of the parents of the children i work with about spark people. I have even went as far as printing article out for some of the parents who do not have access to computers. Some of the ways I have made a difference is that they don't see me drink soda or candy. i drink either tea or water and eat fruits or veggies. As a result of this some of the kids I work with bring healthy healthy snacks some days instead of hot chips. Schools also need to hire a pe coach to teach kids the importance of exercise. In the school district I work in only two schools have a pe teacher. The school I work at is one of them and i have seen a improvement in the 2 years the pe teacher been there. - 2/12/2010   9:18:52 PM
    • 193
      I like the idea of creating a Spark for Kids, and/.or TeenSpark! They need a space to use this. Most schools have some kind of health/life skills class, and utilizing such a tool should be imperative in their understanding what they are putting in their mouths.

      One thing I have noticed, is the trend some schools have had to eliminate recess. I believe it is critical for schools to maintain recess so the youngsters have running time, space to blow off steam and just be kids. Recess was my favorite "Class", 2nd to art. But really, it is important. - 2/12/2010   8:20:03 PM
    • RSCAHILL
      192
      Food Stamps should not even be good on that type of food. Those things have very little nutritional value. They are cheap though, and taste good. So the food stamp people buy more of that kind of stuff. It just shouldn't be allowed. Like they can't buy alcohol or cigarettes with the stamps, ....they shouldn't be allowed to buy the junk food either. When they first get issued the stamps, they should be given a list of things they can buy, and cannot buy. The stores should then be held responsible for not selling them the things they are not allowed to buy. This would go a long way to eliminating alot of the junk food intake. - 2/12/2010   7:24:49 PM
    • 191
      I love the First Lady program "Lets Move". Spark People can create a fun challenge game web site for children and their schools. for the children who loose the most weight at the end of the year spark people will give them a special little trophy and a gift card and for the school who children loose the most weight spark people will give that school a trophy with the school name and some well needed school supplies.
      Children loves to play games and I think this will be something to think about.
      - 2/12/2010   6:47:50 PM
    • 190
      I agree with our first lady. Childhood obesity is on the rise. It is not healthy for any one. We NEED to do something about it now before the problem gets even farther out of hand. School lunch programs have changed so much (for the worse) since I was in school. We didn't have "choices". Now kids can choose what items they want and don't want. We need to start a healthy program in our school lunch programs. More fruits, more veggies, less fat, etc. - 2/12/2010   6:37:03 PM
    • 189
      ..
      - 2/12/2010   6:32:49 PM
    • CIRCUS27
      188
      I love this! Anything that gets our kids outside and playing with something other than a video or computer game is great. And the fact that she's advocating healthier meals at school is even better. What's even better is that I was reading an article about this earlier this week about how it came about after her own children's doctor said that they were becoming overweight. And that by realizing that her own kids were overweight, what a huge problem it was across America. Most importantly she's helped her own family become healthier. She's actually practiced what she's preaching! - 2/12/2010   6:32:48 PM
    • GREENPURL
      187
      I love Michelle Obama! School lunches definitely need improvement. Kids need to become active again - less T.V., video games, etc. Parents need to become more involved! - 2/12/2010   4:43:34 PM
    • 186
      I say there should be a spark kid website for anyone under the age of 17. The parents can go on and help their child(ren) make better food choices and make it kid friendly. Games about good health would work too. Have it to where it is linked to the parents that have a spark people account. My son is 3 years old and he see's me eating healthy food and sometimes it is hard to get him to eat more fruit and veggies. Though I do know he will eat them when he is ready to and I will have it on hand. Just make it fun for kids to learn and understand that it is better to have an apple over the bag of chips. - 2/12/2010   2:51:31 PM
    • LIVINGONMYTERMS
      185
      I don't have any kids living at home but I do have 1 neice and 3 grandkids. In addition to to SP and the fight against obesity in children, it would be nice to see a SP for children. Just changing eating habits in the schools is not enough, it needs to happen at home too. I get tired of seeing and hearing that things begin at school--No! healthy habits, and everything else regarding children start at home, not at school. The issue's with school lunches has been around for over 30 years and it is just now that a push for change is coming to the surface? Wake up! - 2/12/2010   1:58:58 PM
    • 184
      I think this is a good thing and I hope it works. At last, something postive coming from the Obama whitehouse. When I was a kid, we had balanced hot meal lunches everyday at school for .25. And you could have ice cream for a nickel. The teachers would make us eat everything on our plates and we would have to get our tray approved before we could dump it. I would take my lunch on days when they had something I didn't like. I hated jello salad with shredded carrots in it and remember stuffing it into my milk carton so I wouldn't have to eat it. Even if they served healthy meals at schools, would the kids eat it? It all starts at home. - 2/12/2010   12:39:06 PM
    • 183
      It’s nice to have a spokesperson for children’s health, but it’s definitely not a new idea. President Eisenhower established the President's Council on Youth Fitness in 1956 because American children were much less physically fit than children in other countries (60% less than European children). President Kennedy called Americans “soft” and changed the name to President’s Council on Physical Fitness to include all Americans. Every president since that time has had a similar program with a well known, physically fit celebrity (Olympian, astronaut, sports star) as spokesperson. Committees are formed and brochures are printed. The only people who pay attention long-term are those already interested in good health. I truly hope I’m wrong, but I doubt Michelle Obama will have different results.

      The name, “First Lady’s Childhood Obesity Initiative” offends me, even though the name is also “Let’s Move!” Many schools stopped recognizing valedictorians because it might make other children feel badly about themselves. Obese children often have self-esteem issues from years of ridicule from their peers. Now the first lady of the United States singles them out! All children benefit from healthy food and exercise.

      Parents are responsible for their children’s obesity unless their children are planning menus, grocery shopping and preparing the food. Blaming school, TV, society, etc is an excuse for parents to abdicate their responsibilities. Children would have healthy eating and exercise habits if parents focused on these things during the several weeks of school breaks. It doesn’t happen because most parents don’t exercise or eat healthy.

      Here’s a link to the charts of what children should be able to do.
      http://www.presidentschallenge.org/
      educators/program_details/physical_
      fitness/qualifying_standards.aspx



      - 2/12/2010   12:37:47 PM
    • MARYJEANSL
      182
      While I certainly agree that childhood obesity is a huge problem, I do not think that the answer lies in yet another extremely expensive, taxpayer funded, government program. As I think Spark People has shown, the answer lies in parents, families working together, not the government. - 2/12/2010   11:33:47 AM
    • 181
      Things have improved some in my area, with dieticians working with schools to revamp the school lunches, & my kids have pe a few times a week. I try to set a good example for my kids with diet and exercise, & having healthy foods available. While they don't always choose the healthier food options , they are atleast aware of them , & see their parents making an effort. I would love to do more. My two girls are teenagers, & I've seen some obese people in their schools. Both daughters are concerned with their appearance , & don't want to gain any weight. When my younger daughter now 13, was chubbier lady year annd previous one she was teased some by people at school, & was so sensitive about clingy type clothes and her weight. She's more aware of her eating now , & eats healthier foods, & smaller portions . She is a very healthy weight now, & doesn't ever want to go back to being the chubby girl again. Anything we can do is an improvement over where we are now as a nation . I would love to help people, and totally understand their struggle . Getting the whole family involved is a great place to start. - 2/12/2010   11:29:47 AM
    • 180
      I BELIEVE WITH ALL MY HEART THIS shouldn't be totally focused on lunches...
      can't be sending mixed messages.

      one thing I see as a disaster, is gym class...
      they focus for one week for each activity, basketball, soccar, tennis,
      Now don't get me wrong... those things are great, but wasting your time reading about them, having to fill out worksheets, are just plain dumb. (this takes up 50% of gym time now, uh, isn't this what we have reading class for? )
      Instead, they need to focus on real life changing activities, and be teaching motivation, and getting them involved in activities that they will use everyday, (lets face it, not everyone is going to be a NBA star). at least 2 or 3 days out of the week should be dedicaited to personal fitness, and wieght lifting. and learning everything about it, like natural bodybuilding, pilates, yoga,. and what each thing does to your body. Workout journals all around, and incentive to making goals, and progress. Because even the big kids will be more likely to lift weights, do crunches, and walk/jog on the tredmill, or use the bike, than to be picked last for a sport.
      It is very discouraging and demeaning for these kids.

      and in health class, they need to me learning about things like saturated fat... (IT TURNS YOUR ARTERIES INTO pbc tubing!!!) everyone focused on the trans fat, when sat. fat is to be worried about.
      and they need to be learning about like what a pound of fat looks like in your body...
      because disgusting someone, will give them the motivation...
      kids need to learn how to motivate others, so in gym, pair them with opposite, big kid, fit kid..
      for some time, and then switch.. - 2/12/2010   11:13:31 AM
    • 179
      School lunches undoubtedly could improve, but one way we keep things healthy is that my daughter takes her lunch. We have a laptop lunchbox and even if you don't have the box (it's not cheap, but you use reusable containers, so you don't buy all the individual packages which saves money and waste in the end) you can check out the website for fantastic healthy kid friendly lunches. My girls love it and the more creatively I pack their lunch, the more likely they are to eat it! Check out the website for some great ideas: www.laptoplunches.com - 2/12/2010   11:00:04 AM
    • BILOBASUE
      178
      I do agree with others that there is a problem with the types of lunches that are being served at school. Parents need to wake up to what they are putting into their grocery cart too. One of the things that I have observed at the store is the amount of pop people buy. I remember 5 years ago when my son was 12 he would point out to me that quite a few of the people had nothing but pop in their cart. This was a real wake up call for him since I don't even let the stuff in my house. Another wake up call for him was the fact when we would go visit my grandson at the ex-daughter-in-laws house the kitchen floor was practically covered with pop bottles and empty chip bags. How do you address such a problem without stepping on someone's toes? - 2/12/2010   10:51:37 AM
    • 177
      I believe that focusing on exercise needs to be a top priority. Revamp PE classes! Let's totally drop the entire "competition" aspect of it. PE should not be used as a way to identify the children gifted in athletics - this can easily be done outside of schools in community sports. Make the emphasis from the first on the 3 aspects of fitness - flexibility, strength, and cardio. Everyone works at their own pace with absolutely no comparisons between students. Although sports can be a part of PE, they should be completely optional. If a student decides to only workout at personal activities (as long as they hit all 3 fitness areas), that should be completely acceptable.

      Parents can move this along by contacting school boards, state representatives, etc.

      Think about it - if the schools decided to identify the mathematically gifted kids early on and then designed the entire math curriculum around those kids and said "sorry you are math losers" to the rest of the kids - would you put up with that? So why let PE be only about the kids who are athletically gifted? - 2/12/2010   10:48:56 AM
    • 176
      I have a daughter that is overweight that is nine years old. I know of the Sparkteen.com site for children from 13-17, however I was wondering if there are any works for a Sparktween...for children 9-13 years old? Does anyone have any suggestions? - 2/12/2010   10:07:58 AM
    • 175
      I know that where I live, near Portland, OR, kids are forced to put at least one fruit AND one vegetable on their plates in the lunch line. Also, many schools around here have their own vegetable gardens, which the children tend. They learn about where their food comes from and participate in the cultivation of what they eat. Many schools are partnered with local farmers and every month has a local, organic veggie "theme". I've seen kids eat radishes, brussels sprouts, squash, & more at school, so it seems to be working! There is still work to do in schools for sure, but it's not just school lunches that are making our kids fat. - 2/12/2010   9:48:33 AM
    • 174
      Each publicly funded school is required by federal law to have a wellness committee. If you don't have kids see about volunteering at a school to share your SPARK!
      Hope Mrs Obama's program comes with some money to implement programs. - 2/12/2010   9:36:35 AM
    • 173
      Perhaps you need a grandpa and grandma spark team. I have my children and grandchildren over at least once a week. We can have an influence on the children at these times as well. My grandchildren enjoy helping in the kitchen and enjoy their foods much more when doing so. - 2/12/2010   9:32:42 AM
    • 172
      I think this is a great initiative!! We need slimmer healthy children! - 2/12/2010   9:03:38 AM
    • 171
      I just wish the government would start looking at what the schools are actually serving as school lunches. At my school they are far from healthy and are very starchy and sugary. A breakfast of pop tarts and donuts just does not cut it with me. The money is cut short to schools and physical education classes and music are the first programs to be cut. I think Mrs Obama is on the right tract, now lets see it in action. - 2/12/2010   7:35:42 AM
    • 170
      It's a great start. - 2/12/2010   7:33:23 AM
    • 169
      GREAT NEWS! We must be an example for our kids!
      Don't demand what you can't give!! Remember this when
      you are demanding your children eat more healthy when
      you are feeding your body junk!! Let's start with ourselves
      and become that great example our children need to
      eat more healthy!! Great to hear we are supporting our
      First Lady Michelle Obama!! - 2/12/2010   7:24:46 AM
    • 168
      Michelle for President! - 2/12/2010   6:12:25 AM
    • 167
      I'm from the government and I'm here to help you. And that always works out SO well...... - 2/11/2010   8:12:16 PM
    • 166
      I have 2 children, 1 and 3 and they don't even know what the fast food logos are and I know that they are the exception Children tend to be the hearts of their parents; maybe in helping their kids they'll help themselves as well.
      Children have a natural tendency to want to learn so we should be teaching them the basics of food groups, hydration and portion sizes. My kids steal veggies off my plate and my 3 year old can open the fridge: everything that is her eye and height level are fruits and veggies. We need to start at home. - 2/11/2010   7:41:09 PM
    • 165
      I don't have any children at home but I do like the idea of our nations children eating better which is why I have been a supporter of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution for awhile. He believes that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals. He was the recipiant of the 2010 TED prize for the same reasons. Jamie is also organising a petition for Americans to sign which he hopes to be able to take to President Obama. The petition is hosted on the Food Revolution website @ http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaign
      s/jamies-food-revolution
      if anyone is interested in checking it out. - 2/11/2010   6:08:55 PM

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