Parents Can Take Action

Parents Can Take Action Through the Let’s Move! Campaign

by David J Breland, MD, MPH


First Lady, Michelle Obama, started a national campaign called “Let’s Move!”  Her goal is to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation, so that children born today would grow up into adults with healthy weights.  “Let’s Move!” is a program that fights childhood obesity by working at all the levels of children’s lives that affect their health.  The program will give schools, families and communities the tools they need to make it easier to help kids live healthy lives. 

There are four main goals of the “Let’s Move!” campaign:

  • Empowering parents and caregivers
  • Providing healthy food in schools
  • Improving access to healthy, affordable foods
  • Increasing physical activity


“Let’s Move!” gives five simple steps to success. Families, schools and communities can use these step-by-step strategies to support healthy lives for kids. I am going to focus on the tips for parents and caregivers. You have the power to set wonderful examples for your kids. 

  1. Provide healthy snacks. Replace a candy dish with a fruit bowl. Store tempting foods like cookies, chips, etc. out of reach or out of sight.  Place healthier options at eye level.
  2. Make physical activity a part of your family’s routine. The best way to increase physical activity in your family is for you to be a part of it.  Include the kids in setting goals for physical activity and choosing when to do it.  An effective goal is one that is specific and achievable.   Just saying you will exercise more is not specific.  Setting the goal of taking a walk for 30 minutes is more specific and easier to achieve.
  3. Plan a healthy menu.  Preparing healthier meals doesn’t have to be hard if you plan and get the children involved. Sit down as a family and plan healthy meals for the week. Then make a list and stick to it.  When families sit down and eat together, children are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables and less junk food. 
  4. Reduce screen time (like watching TV and sitting in front of the computer) and get active. You should be a good role model by limiting your screen time to no more than two hours each day.  Children are more likely to do the same if they see you following your own rules. Make screen time active time by stretching or lifting weights at the same time. You can even challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups or jumping jacks during commercial breaks!
  5. Organize a school health team. If there is a school health team at your child’s school, you should join it. Health teams are one way for parents to take an active role in making a healthy environment for kids at school.


Go to the “Let’s Move!” website at for detailed tips. You can download these and use them with your family.



1. Let's Move! Take Action for Parents  2010  [cited 2010 September 22]; Available from: http:/