Today, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted Mayor Nancy Chaney at the White House, celebrating the outstanding efforts of the City of Moscow and other communities to complete health and wellness goals over the past year for Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC).
The First Lady expressed her thanks for the good work cities, towns and counties have done and plan to continue to do in regards to the LMCTC movement noting, "We are just so proud of everything that you're doing. It's truly amazing. And there are so many community leaders just like Nancy [Chaney] who are here today, and we appreciate you taking the time and making this a priority -- leaders who have stepped up on behalf of the health and well-being of our next generation. The most important part of our lives in this society is our children, and you all have demonstrated that by putting them top on your list."
It was also announced that a new report on the effect of poor nutrition on health will soon be released by Dr. Chris Murray from the University of Washington and Dr. Harvey Fineberg from the Institute of Medicine further highlighting the importance of LMCTC. After the First Lady's remarks, a panel discussion on best LMCTC practices looking at measurable deliverables was held. Panelists included Missoula, Montana County Commissioner Jean Curtis; Hernando, Mississippi Mayor Chip Johnson; Chester, Pennsylvania Mayor John Linder; and Knoxville, Tennessee Mayor Madeline Rogero.
LMCTC calls upon local elected officials to adopt sustainable and holistic strategies that improve access to healthy, affordable food and opportunities for physical activity. Since joining LMCTC, the City of Moscow's Let's Move! efforts include Bike to Work Day, now morphed into Bike for Life Month, chock full of family-friendly cycling activities. It shows up in the summer lunch line in a City park, where children actually request broccoli to arrange as "trees" around stacks of other fresh veggies on their plates. Enthusiastic grade-schoolers keep a watchful eye for fuzzy stuffed bears on the annual Polar Walk sponsored by Safe Routes to School. Our City Hall serves as an art gallery that recently hosted a children's exhibit on the theme "I love my bike!" In Moscow, the public has come to expect that community planning will connect people and places with sidewalks, bike trails, and complete streets to enable their active modes of transportation and active lifestyles. Locally, the following stakeholders have contributed to the progress that the City has made: the Moscow School District, University of Idaho, Moscow Safe Routes to School Program, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Mayor Chaney said of the event, "Today's gathering reflected our common interest in the future for our nation's young people. As elected and appointed officials and support-staff, we share the common objective of reversing childhood obesity in a generation. It's an ambitious, non-partisan, achievable goal set by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010."
"The League of Cities appreciates the support and energy of the First Lady for her tireless efforts to reduce the obesity epidemic facing our communities," said National League of Cities' Executive Director, Clarence Anthony. He continued, "We congratulate all the local elected officials who participated in the event and are playing an instrumental role in providing our nation's children with a healthier future. When children grow up in cities, towns and counties that promote healthy development, they become productive and healthy adults, contributing to the prosperity of our communities."
LMCTC is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama's comprehensive Let's Move! initiative, which is dedicated to solving the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. A total of 330 cities, towns and counties from 46 states and the District of Columbia, which collectively represent more than 56 million Americans, have committed to the initiative's five goals. NLC has awarded more than 1,000 bronze, silver and gold "medals" to recognize local elected officials who have made progress in achieving these goals.
As part of LMCTC, local elected officials are working towards the following goals:
- Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart: Promoting best practices for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education settings
- Goal II: My Plate, Your Place: Prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipal or county venues where food is served
- Goal III: Smart Servings for Students: Increasing participation in school breakfast and lunch programs
- Goal IV: Model Food Service: Implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Goal V: Active Kids at Play: Increasing opportunities for physical activity
NLC is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations, to assist local elected officials who join LMCTC as they implement policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded NLC a grant to provide technical assistance to local elected officials working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including sites participating in LMCTC.
For more information about LMCTC and the City of Moscow's accomplishments, visit www.HealthyCommunitiesHealthyFuture.org.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.