Student Well-Being

Michelle Obama’s Potato-Sack Race for Student Health

By Ross Brenneman — February 26, 2013 1 min read

This February marks the third anniversary of Let’s Move!, the campaign against childhood obesity developed by First Lady Michelle Obama. My indefatigable colleague, Gina Cairney, has more on the anniversary over at Schooled in Sports. Go read it! But finish reading this first. You’re already a paragraph in now, so you’re basically committed.

Michelle Obama celebrated the third anniversary with “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon last week. The two engaged in a five-round competition of physical activities, including dodgeball, hula-hooping, and a potato-sack race. Among other moments in Let’s Move! history:

• Initiation of the Chefs Move to School program, which matches schools with chefs who can help create healthier eating programs;

• The first Kids’ State Dinner, featuring healthy recipes submitted by students ages 8 to 12. (Also, it was actually lunch, and not quite black tie.);

• That time Arne Duncan did the “Cupid Shuffle” at Lowry Elementary School in Denver;

• Setting the world record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period; and,

• Supporting passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act;

Is Let’s Move! working? Should it be more like Let’s Move!(?) Well, it’s certainly just one small part of an effort to reduce childhood obesity, and Gina goes into that as well. To be sure, federal attempts to reduce obesity aren’t always well-received. But there’s also been a constant flow of new research that examines child health; you can read some of it here. And as the good G.I. Joe says, knowing is half the battle.

Photo: Host Jimmy Fallon dressed as a mom, left, dances with first lady Michelle Obama during an appearance of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” on Feb. 22 in New York. Mrs. Obama returned to the show to promote her “Let’s Move” campaign, performing in a sketch called “Evolution of Mom Dancing.” —Lloyd Bishop/NBC/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.