Remarks by the First Lady at President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Event
3:07 P.M EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Well, thank you, everyone. Welcome to the White House! Beautiful day. (Applause.) We ordered this weather just for you. (Laughter.)
So, thanks so much, Dominique, for that very kind introduction and for her leadership as co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. And I want to thank all of the council members for joining us here today and for their outstanding work. We’ve got educators on the council. We’ve got mentors. We’ve got trainers. We’ve got nutritionists, pediatricians. We’ve got athletes, Olympians, everyone. And they have just been amazing in terms of the amount of time and dedication that they’ve put in to this council. The President and I are grateful. Let’s give them a round of applause. (Applause.)
Through their example, they're teaching our kids how to make healthier choices about what they eat, and they're inspiring young people across the country to turn off the TV. I know we’re trying to do that in my house. Put down the video games. Put them down! (Laughter.) Release them. And start getting fit.
And as you all know, this is one of my top priorities as First Lady. That's why we started "Let's Move." As Dominique said, this is a nationwide campaign to help all our kids lead healthier and more active lives right from the beginning. That's why all of us are here today, but there’s another reason why we’re here today. And Dominique mentioned that. It has to do with one of my other top priorities as First Lady, and that's all of you -- America’s extraordinary military families.
You all -- I’ve said this before -- are truly the force behind the force. So many of you are parents running your households and raising your kids, oftentimes all alone while your spouses deploy. You all are kids working hard in school, helping out at home and being so brave while either parent is away. And as National Guard and Reserve families, you all are living in our communities among everyone. You’re our neighbors. You’re in our churches, you’re in our kids’ schools, but often without the support of a military base nearby.
And these past 10 years have been ones where we’ve relied on you and your loved ones like never before. You might not be in uniform, but we all know that all of you make the same -- if not more -- of the sacrifice. We know that when our troops serve, you all serve. And I think that it’s time that we started serving you in return. It’s time we started doing everything as a country that we can do to show our gratitude for your contributions to this nation.
And that's why Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces. It’s an effort to rally the entire country -- every American -- to recognize, honor and support all of our military families. We say this: 1 percent of the country serves and protects the freedoms of 99 percent of the rest of us. So it is incumbent upon all of us to step up in some way to make sure these families know that we’re proud of them.
So today, I am pleased to announce three new “Let’s Move” commitments that are specifically designed for military kids and military families.
First, the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association has agreed to offer free memberships to immediate family members of actively deployed National Guard and Reserve members. They’re aiming to offer more than 100,000 free memberships -- the equivalent of more than 18 million free days of access to gyms and health clubs across the country. Starting June 1st, you can log on to letsmove.obamawhitehouse.archives.gov to learn how to find a club in your area and sign up for free.
The second, is the American Council on Exercise has agree to provide at least 1 million hours of free personal training and fitness instruction to the same group of families.
Now, my personal trainer is up here. There he is. If anybody wants to know who’s responsible for these arms -- (laughter) -- it’s that guy. (Applause.) And it is always helpful to have somebody else pushing you -- because let me tell you, there are times when my rational mind says it’s enough and he says, no it’s not. So this is an important benefit for anyone trying to get in shape.
So not only will you be able to join a gym, but you’ll be able to get a personal trainer as well. So that’s even more of an incentive to get started, to get healthy. Right? I mean, what more -- free gym membership! A trainer! No excuse. (Laughter.) And you can learn about his offer at letsmove.obamawhitehouse.archives.gov as well.
And finally, the members of our Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition have committed to doing a special series of events and outreach with military families all across the country. So these folks are going to fan out and do even more work. For example, championship NASCAR driver Carl Edwards is going to be visiting military bases in connection with his weekly races. So in addition to trying to win and drive fast, he’s going to be hooking up with all of you and connecting wherever he goes.
Now, Carl couldn’t be here today because he and his wife just had a baby.
MRS. OBAMA: I know. Yay, Carl. Congratulations. (Applause.) But I know he’s excited to get out there and meet with folks.
And former pro football player, Tedy Bruschi, is going to be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with a team of wounded warriors. And in fact, they’re actually leaving tomorrow, which is why Tedy isn’t here today.
And finally, members of the council will be encouraging military kids and all kids and families to meet a new challenge we created last year -- it’s called the President’s Active Lifestyle Award, or PALA is how we call it for short. The idea here is very simple: If kids do an hour of physical activity a day, five days a week for six weeks, they get an award from who other than the man in the Oval Office, the President of the United States. What more could you want as a kid? (Applause.) An award from the President!
And adults, you can get your award, too. You only need to do 30 minutes a day. Come on. (Laughter.)
And we’ve set an ambitious goal. We want to have 1 million Americans to earn a PALA award by next September. And we’re making some really good progress. We’re doing this nationwide. And I’ll put this out there -- in September, I want to have a big -- my staff is going to lose their minds -- I want to have a big old celebration here on the South Lawn. Yes, I do. (Laughter and applause.) It’s a heads-up. You all can start planning that. We’ll invite some kids back. Maybe we’ll do the Dougie again or whatever it is. (Laughter.)
So we want the entire family to get in on this action. So this isn’t just about kids. Kids spark us. I mean, what I always say is that we, as parents, we’ll do for our kids what we will not do for ourselves. And sometimes that’s the thing that gets us motivated. They get us motivated.
So while we’re focused on dealing with the epidemic of childhood obesity, this has got to be a family effort because kids follow our examples. Maybe that means running around in the park together. It doesn’t take money. I mean, you families are going to have membership access and personal trainers, but the truth is, is that movement doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It’s a walk in the park. It’s a run around the park. It’s dancing in the living room.
I mean, that’s one thing that Beyoncé’s video showed us. I mean, we had thousands of kids who were moving just to learn those steps to that video, and they were moving to make it happen. And everybody has got a TV with a DVD player video. I know that. Everybody is watching some video somewhere.
Or just taking some long walks after dinner. It can be as simple as that. This isn’t about physical prowess. It’s about movement. And we have to go from sitting to standing to walking to moving. And then ultimately running will just be no big thing, right?
So I’m proud to say that this past fall, I earned my PALA award, which I am very proud of. My trainer oversaw it. (Applause.) And I know that all you grownups and all of you kids can do the same thing. In fact, every one can get started right now today with our South Lawn series. We’re going to do some stuff right now. I’m going to be joining in, because I always do, taking a turn at some of the stations that we’ve got set up.
And with that, I want to once again thank the President’s Council for joining us today. I want to thank the American Council on Exercise, and the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association, and their CEOs who are with us today, Scott Goudeseune and Joe Moore. Thank you guys, both -- (applause) -- for your commitments.
And as I’ve been told, they got a call and this request was put in and they jumped on it. This has been the reaction of the country. People want to make sure our kids are healthy. They just need to know how. They want to know how they can plug in. So everyone is stepping up in a way that is profound.
So, Joe and Scott, we are truly grateful for this leadership. And this is the kind of leadership we want to see from sports legends and sports organizations and food manufacturers and restaurant owners and chefs, and you name it -- everybody can step up and help out on this effort.
So I want to thank you all again and all of the council for their service. And with that, what more to say? Let’s move. Let’s get going. Let me see what you all got.
Thank you, guys. Thanks so much. (Applause.)
3:17 P.M. EDT