Saturday, June 12, 2010

Calling All Mayors: Michelle Obama Launches "Let's Move Cities And Towns" - Video

Federal government will work with Mayors to achieve certification for cities and towns, First Lady says
Before formally launching the Let's Move! campaign last February, First Lady Michelle Obama revealed the plans for her childhood obesity initiative when speaking to the US Conference of Mayors, during their annual winter meeting in Washington. On Friday, Mrs. Obama addressed the Mayors again, during their summer meeting in Oklahoma City, and launched a new Let's Move! initiative just for cities and towns.

Mrs. Obama spoke to the Mayors via video, because on Friday, she was in Washington giving the commencement address at Anacostia High School, and visiting the Women's Labor Bureau, in honor of its 90th anniversary. Mrs. Obama is introduced on the video by Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, of Burnsville, Minnesota, the first woman to be president of the US Conference of Mayors. (Above: Mrs. Obama and Mayor Kautz, during the winter Mayors' meeting)

Let's Move Cities and Towns is intended to get the Mayors to join the campaign at the grassroots, local level, according to Mrs. Obama, as she noted that Mayors know about grassroots action "unlike anyone else."

"Every city is different, and every town is going to require its own distinctive approach to dealing with childhood obesity," Mrs. Obama said.

Mrs. Obama is asking Mayors who "sign up" to take action in four key areas, which are the pillars of her campaign: Helping parents make healthy family choices; creating healthy schools; providing access to healthy and affordable food; and promoting physical activity.

"What I'm really asking is for you to take the steps that make the most sense for your community," Mrs. Obama said. "Whether that means creating incentives to attract supermarkets and grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods, or creating park systems and neighborhoods that encourage people to get out and walk."

"I know times are tough in so many of our cities and town, and that's why the steps we're asking you to take will save money at the end of the day," Mrs. Obama added.

"When you sign up to be a prospective let's Move! city or town, the federal government will work with you to answer any questions you may have, and to get your feedback on what you need to have happen here in Washington."

The Mayors will receive the honor of having their cities and towns "certified" as Let's Move Cities and Towns "if significant action is underway" at the end of one year, Mrs. Obama said.

The summer gathering is being hosted by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who has received big lauds from Mrs. Obama for his work in combating obesity--he's the Mayor who put his entire city on a diet. Mayor Cornett was seated in the First Lady's box during the President Obama's State of The Union Address in January, when the President gave Mrs. Obama special notice for her work on childhood obesity. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was at the conference to talk about Mrs. Obama's campaign.

Related: In the past month, Mrs. Obama has launched multiple initiatives for Let's Move!. On Tuesday, she launched a summer service initiative, Let's Read. Let's Move. Last week, she launched Chefs Move to Schools. On June 1, Mrs. Obama launched Let's Move Outside during a trip to Nevada with Sen. Harry Reid. On May 25, Mrs. Obama kicked of the South Lawn Series, which opens the White House grounds to fitness activities for local kids and sports groups.