Faith and community groups are leading the way! That was the theme of First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech celebrating the second anniversary of Let’s Move! last weekend. The First Lady visited Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Florida as part of her three-day anniversary tour celebrating the nationwide initiative she launched to end childhood obesity in a generation. At the event, the First Lady spoke to over 3,000 Let’s Move Faith and Communities supporters of diverse backgrounds, including congregants, community members, and leaders from 120 congregations and organizations in the Central Florida area, representing 15 different faiths and denominations. The First Lady was graciously welcomed by Dr. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, and Mrs. Becky Hunter.
The First Lady thanked everyone for the critical work faith-based and neighborhood organizations do to support the health of children in their communities. And to highlight the great work these groups are engaged in across the country, the First Lady announced the Communities on the Move video challenge, telling the crowd, “whatever you do, I want to know about it.” She invited national and local faith-based and community groups from all corners of the country to create inspiring videos about their efforts to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. The video challenge recognizes community efforts that promote healthy lifestyles for kids in three areas: by encouraging nutritious eating through USDA’s MyPlate icon, increasing physical activity, and ensuring access to healthy, affordable foods. Winners will be invited to Washington, D.C. for a Let’s Move! event where they will have a special opportunity to showcase their video.
“America’s faith communities play a crucial role in guiding and strengthening not only our spiritual health, but our emotional and physical health as well,” the First Lady said. “Over the past two years, I’ve been inspired by all of the faith leaders and congregations who have taken action to get active and eat healthier, and so we’re launching our Let’s Move! video contest to highlight some of the best examples. I know there’s so much incredible work being done – and I can’t wait to hear some of these stories first-hand at the White House.”
Be sure to check out more Let’s Move Faith and Communities success stories for additional ideas on getting active, healthy eating, and making healthy food affordable and accessible to your community. To sign up and join our network of supporters, please visit us online.
Ari Schoenholtz is a Program Analyst at the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.