The City of Lincoln was recognized today for its efforts to call attention to one of our nation's growing problems — childhood obesity. February 9 marked the first anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, to create a nationwide movement to reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity. Nationally, as well as here in Lincoln, one in three children is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for many chronic and serious health problems.
"The short-term impact and the long-term consequences of childhood obesity have made it a priority health topic in our community," said Mayor Beutler. "I readily signed on the dotted line when asked to consider making Lincoln a Let's Move! City. We have no greater responsibility than the health and welfare of our children. Our obligation is to do everything we can to reverse the alarming rate of childhood obesity."
Judy Baker, Health and Human Services Regional Director and regional spokesperson for the Let's Move! campaign, was in Lincoln today to recognize the City for its efforts to combat childhood obesity through programs like 54321GO. Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department adopted the 54321GO program from the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago's Children. Partners in the project are Salvation Army, Clyde Malone Community Center, Teach a Kid to Fish, "F" Street Recreation Center, Carol M. Yoakum Family Resource Center, Community Crops, Cedars and B&R Stores.
"The event here in Lincoln today is one of dozens taking place around the country to raise awareness of the initiative and inspire communities, families and schools to take action," said Baker. "Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Let's Move! is working to combat the childhood obesity epidemic through a comprehensive approach with schools, families and communities to help kids be more active, eat better and get healthy."
The 54321GO program emphasizes good nutrition, adequate physical activity and little "screen time." Children and parents hear the message and are challenged to incorporate these healthy concepts into their lifestyle behaviors. It started as a pilot project with children at the Salvation Army and Clyde Malone Community Center in 2008. It is now being used in many child care centers, schools, after school programs, work sites and other locations throughout Lincoln.
The 54321GO program focuses on healthy daily habits: 5 servings of fruits/vegetables, 4 glasses of water, 3 servings of low-fat dairy, 2 hours or less of screen time and 1 hour or more of physical activity.
Those wanting more information on the Let's Move! initiative and the City's efforts to combat childhood obesity, can visit the Health Department's website at health.lincoln.ne.gov.