“You all are such powerful messengers on this issue. You have such an incredible platform. Just the 150 of you in this room alone reach tens of millions of people. Let’s just step back. Just look at yourselves, all the power that you’re wielding right here in this room. Mommy bloggers — and the 10 dads, yeah. So don’t ever doubt the difference you all can make, both as bloggers with a national reach, and as leaders in your own family.” — First Lady Michelle Obama
If the parent blogger community needed any validation that our voices and those of the parents who read our blogs matter, we got it on Tuesday. First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama invited 150 parent bloggers to The White House for a media event in which we learned about the mission and the impact of the Let’s Move programs.
This conversation on the health of our nation’s children was educational and inspirational about the good that has been accomplished by the First Lady’s special project. Since its inception:
- Over 30 million kids have access to healthier school meals
- Over 10 million kids attend Let’s Move! Active Schools where they strive to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day
- 1.6 million kids attend healthier daycare centers
- 2 million kids now have a Let’s Move! Salad Bar in their school
The First Lady said, “After so many years, childhood obesity rates have stopped rising, and rates for our youngest kids have actually started to fall. And I have no doubt that if we keep pushing forward on this issue, one day, we will look back on the food we used to feed our kids and it’ll be like looking back on the days when we didn’t wear seat belts or bike helmets or sunscreen. We’ll be like, ‘Man, can you believe we used to eat that stuff?’”
We also learned of all the work that still needs to be done, and us parents in attendance and those who read our blogs (that’s you, my friend) were asked to be part of the solutions for greater health for our country’s kids within our own homes, schools, parent communities and in our digital parent communities.
What FLOTUS has asked us to do transcends party affiliations and was an appeal for children’s health. We can do super easy stuff like these 5 healthy family tips. I personally appreciate the toolkit on how to incorporate more physical activity into our family time!
As part of the media event I was able to tour the White House Kitchen Garden, which the First Lady says she has worked to make easy, accessible and replicable for American families. Read her Kitchen Garden Guide here on how we families can begin our own kitchen gardens this spring to grow fruits and veggies with our kids that they are more likely to eat!
Fun facts for fellow Presidential history nerds: This is the first major vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden in 1943. Two of the beds incorporate plants and seeds from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Gardens in Charlottesville.
We parents with children in public schools were also personally asked by Dr. Katie Wilson, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, USDA and Deb Eschmeyer, White House Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition and Executive Director of Let’s Move, to bring the idea of a school garden to our kids’ schools. There is federal money designated so that schools can grow their own food to be served in their cafeterias, but these programs need parents to bring this opportunity to the schools’ attentions. We can work with our principals and cafeteria managers to start a garden that produces fresh foods to be served on campus, using the students as gardeners and incorporating their farm learning into their science, social studies and complete curriculums.
I will be sharing more interesting and essential information that I learned from the event, but my main take away was a strong message that parenting matters. Our kids’ health and education matter. The frenetic pace and pressures of our worlds of parenting and work were acknowledged, and our children’s well-being was underscored as the most important thing, full stop.
And now before I go make a healthy dinner for the kids with lots of different colored vegetables, I’m going to be a dork and post a couple pics from the White House taken during my visit.
with TeachMama Amy Mascott