Let's Move: Michelle Obama's Fitness and Health Campaign

First Lady Michelle Obama tackles obesity with her fitness and health campaign.

Michelle Obama fitness campaign - 100 Days to the Games
Mrs. Obama with Tamika Catchings during Team USA's Road to Rio Tour presented by Liberty Mutual. Getty Images for USOC / Getty Images

Obesity awareness and prevention has become more than a worthy cause for Michelle Obama, whose health and fitness campaign is called Let's Move. "This isn't just a policy issue for me. This is a passion. This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition," the First Lady announced in March 2010. Let's Move has set a goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.

It's clear to Mrs. Obama that obesity is a crisis, and one that must be addressed aggressively.

Health and Fitness Campaign Components

Let's Move has four areas of focus:

  1. Healthy Choices: Introduce better nutrition labeling, a revamped food pyramid, and regular monitoring of children's BMI
  2. Healthier Schools: Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act for improved school lunches; expand the Healthier US Schools Challenge
  3. Physical Activity: Modernize the President's Physical Fitness Challenge program and increase participation; partner with professional athletes to encourage 60 minutes of active play daily
  4. Access to Affordable Healthy Food: Address the problem of "food deserts," urban and rural areas without access to affordable, nutritious foods

Let's Move Campaign Timeline and Achievements

  • March 2009: Michelle Obama and Washington, DC, students break ground on the White House's organic kitchen garden.
  • February 2010: President Barack Obama creates childhood obesity task force; Mrs. Obama kicks off obesity awareness campaign, Let's Move.
  • April /2010: A report from a group of retired military leaders says childhood obesity is a "threat to national security" and calls for, among other actions, improved school nutrition.
  • June 2010: Michelle Obama gathers hundreds of chefs at the White House to ask them to adopt a school, in a program called Chefs Move to Schools. She asked the chefs to work with the teachers, parents, nutritionists, and administrators at their adopted schools, to improve menus and help kids learn about healthy foods.
  • June 2010: At the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City, First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announce the creation of Let's Move Cities and Towns. The campaign shares more than 40 ways mayors can help improve health and fitness in their cities and towns.
  • September 2010: Let's Move announces the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge. The challenge asks "chefs, students, parents, and school nutrition professionals to develop tasty, nutritious, kid-approved foods."
  • November 2010: Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools launches at event in Miami, Florida. The National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance; the Food, Family, Farming Foundation; and the United Fresh Produce Association will give new salad bars to 6,000 schools.
  • December 2010: Michelle Obama presents new Let's Move initiative, Let's Move Faith and Communities. Its toolkit offers ideas for congregations and communities that want to promote healthy eating and fitness, as well as reduce hunger.
  • December 2010: President Barack Obama signs the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
  • June 2011: Mrs. Obama launches the MyPlate nutrition guidance tool along with the secretary of agriculture and the surgeon general of the United States.
  • July 2011: Michelle Obama announces a new commitment to provide healthy foods from three large retailers and several regional ones. Walgreens, SuperValu, Walmart, and three smaller companies promise to open or expand 1,500 stores to address the problem of food deserts in urban and rural areas.
  • January 2012: New school lunch standards announced.
  • May 2012: Michelle Obama's first book is published. American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America includes a history of the White House garden, tips for community and school gardeners, and recipes featuring fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • August 2012: Michelle Obama hosts the first ever Kids' State Dinner, to celebrate healthy lunch recipes and menus created by kids from all over the U.S.
  • February 2015: Partly in honor of the 5th anniversary of Let's Move, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation pledges $500 million to childhood obesity research, action, and advocacy projects. This brings the RWJF's total commitment to $1 billion.