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February marks another milestone in the movement for a healthier generation - the 3rd year anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign. This month, Be Active Your Way bloggers will reflect on work that has been done to combat childhood obesity, as well as the road ahead.

To celebrate the Anniversary of Let's Move!, you'll hear from:

Let's Move! Milestones & Collaborations: 2012 in Review

by ODPHP February 13, 2013

Originally posted on the Let's Move! blog, in honor of the 3rd year anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign

Since early 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative has been an important driver of childhood obesity prevention efforts across the nation. Through Let's Move!, leaders in business, health care, community, and government have joined educators, childcare providers, faith leaders, chefs and many others to have a meaningful, positive impact on the health of our nation's youth. This month, Let's Move! highlighted their accomplishments from the past three years on their blog.

Here's a snapshot of some Let's Move! milestones and collaborations from the past 12 months:

  • Disney announced that it will require all food and beverage products advertised, sponsored, or promoted on various Disney-owned media channels and online destinations and theme parks to meet nutritional guidelines that align with federal standards to promote fruit and vegetables and limit calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat by 2015.
  • In support of Team USA at the 2012 Olympic Games, the US Olympic Committee and several of its national governing bodies provided beginner athletic programming for free or low cost to more than 1.7 million kids in 2012.
  • The Department of Defense (DOD) announced dramatic improvements to nutrition standards for the $4.65 billion worth of food purchased every year for our troops and their families. For the first time in 20 years, DOD is updating their nutritional standards to include more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products with every meal.
  • The First Lady celebrated a series of new collaborations to supports Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties. Organizations such as the National League of Cities and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committed new resources to help hundreds of local elected officials advance the goals of Let's Move! in their communities. More than 150 local elected officials have committed to the goals of the initiative.
  • Throught the PHA "Play Streets," the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association funded street-closings to increase safe places for families to play. These areas are called "Play Streets" - city streets where kids and families can run, walk, bike, or play outside freely without traffic. In 2013, at least four Play Streets per city/town in 10 cities and towns across the country will be funded.
  • In August 2012, the First Lady hosted the first-ever Kids' State Dinner celebrating healthy lunchtime recipes created by kids. The First Lady, along with Epicurious, USDA, and the Department of Education, welcomed 54 young chefs from all 50 states and U.S. territories to a luncheon at the White House serving some of those healthy creations.
  • The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition updated the President's Challenge Youth Fitness Test to reflect the latest science on kids' health and promote active, healthy lifestyles rather than athletic performance and competition. The new Presidential Youth Fitness Program is a voluntary, school-based program that assesses students' fitness-based health and helps them progress over time. The new program will be implemented in 25 percent of US schools by the end of 2013, and 90 percent of US schools by 2018.
  • The Partnership for a Healthier America teamed up with 157 hospitals to deliver more healthy options throughout their facilities. These hospitals have committed to work over the next three years to improve the nutrition of patient meals as well as that of the food options in on-site cafeterias. This includes more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-calorie options, and healthy beverages.

To learn more about Let's Move!, visit

Physical Activity Guidelines Midcourse Report

As we look forward to another year of robust partnerships and efforts to improve the health of America's children, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in partnership with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, is happy to announce the upcoming release of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth. This report, to be released on March 8, 2013 at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, highlights evidence-based intervention strategies for increasing physical activity throughout various sectors of society.

Learn more by visiting

Policies That Promote Physical Activity Help Healthy Behaviors Stick

by YMCA November 7, 2012

There are many great programs that help people engage in physical activity for a period of time - everything from group exercise classes to walking clubs. But in order to ensure that ALL people are able to reach the recommendations for physical activity as outlined in the national Physical Activity Guidelines, these programs need to be supported by policies that ensure that physical activity is within reach to people in their everyday lives so that they might stick with the behavior they are trying to achieve.

Policies can range from community-wide strategies such as "complete streets" initiatives, that make streets safe for everyone - whether they are on foot, in a wheelchair, on a bike or in a car - to worksite policies that open access to and ensure the safety of stairwells so that people can climb the stairs rather than take the elevator.

Communities across the country are part of this movement that is focusing on how policy and environmental change strategies affect health. The Y's Healthier Communities Initiatives are part of that movement, convening leadership teams in more than 200 communities to engage in strategies that promote healthy living. To date, participating communities have made more than 10,000 changes that promote physical activity.

For example, in Marshalltown, Iowa, changes included the allocation of $50,000 in the city budget for sidewalk maintenance (annually) and a $1.5 billion bike trail extension project linking two present trails to make one continous trail for community members to use throughout the community. In Brattleboro, Vermont the town plan included, for the first time, language related to community design in support of walking and cycling for routine physical activity. In Port Huron, Michigan the team convened by the Y was successful in working to increase the amount of physical activity time offered throughout the school day - doubling the required amount of physical education times in elementary schools from 1 to 2 hours per week, beginning in the fall of 2012. Wilton, Connecticut designated an area near a high school track to be used as an outdoor fitness center for use by the public.

Other examples include improving and building sidewalks; addressing safety concerns such as traffic, lighting, and police enforcement; influencing zoning guidelines to encourage physical activity; adding or expanding recess in local schools; creating or enhancing Safe Routes to Schools programs; and offering workplace incentives to engage in physical activity.

As we encourage individuals to engage in physical activity, we must remember that they often need support to make it happen. Making the healthy choice the easy choice will ensure that those healthy behaviors stay with them for a liftime.

What policies have you seen in your own community that encourage physical activity? Tell us a story about someone who has been impacted by these policies.

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Building Healthy Communities | Policy

Making Gains on the National Physical Activity Plan

by NPAP October 26, 2012

The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) will have reached success when the vast majority of Americans regularly meet or surpass the Physical Activity Guidelines. The NPAP has over 250 evidence-based recommendations for changes in the policies and systems that guide the environments in which we live, work, learn, play, and commute. It's a roadmap that, if followed, will lead to a more physically active nation. It's the "if followed" part, however, that poses the greatest challenge. But fortunately, evidence is beginning to emerge that the NPAP is being followed.

There's no question that policy changes at the national/federal level (e.g. enacting the FIT Kids Act, requiring school accountability for the quality and quantity of physical education and physical activity programs) can impact policies and programs at the local level. Through its relationship with the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), the NPAP is working to create change at the national level. However, NPAP's success will also come as the result of state and local efforts, through which the NPAP is used as a roadmap for states and municipalities.

In the last year, two examples have emerged for how the NPAP has been used to develop state and local level physical activity plans.

Last year, the state of West Virginia and the city of San Antonio, Texas released their state and city physical activity plans, respectively. In both cases the NPAP's eight societal sectors provided the framework for each plan's content. The strategies and tactics from the NPAP's sectors were either copied directly, if applicable, or modified to meet the state and local needs. Or, in cases where the specific needs of the state or municipality were not directly addressed, new strategies or tactics were included. In addition, the process employed by the NPAP to develop and launch the national plan was adopted to develop the state and local plans.

It may be decades before the proverbial fruits of our labor are realized, where incidence and prevalence of non-communicable disease are substantially decreased because most Americans are sufficiently physically active. However, important progress is being made at the state and local level, and development of state and local physical activity plans is an example of that progress.

Do you have examples of progress being made in your town, city, or state?

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