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First lady takes 'Let's Move' to the Olympics

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama announced Monday that she would lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics in London this week, and tied the trip to her “Let’s Move” initiative to address childhood obesity.

“I decided that I wanted to turn that Olympic spirit and inspiration into action by using these games as a way to get more kids up and moving,” the first lady said in a call to reporters. She also noted in response to her challenge, the U.S. Olympic Committee and 10 of its governing bodies got 1.7 million young people to participate in Olympic and Paralympic sports in their communities this year.

In addition to cheering on the U.S. team and meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, Obama said she would host a “Let's Move” event with American and British students, including American military children.

Sam Kass
Sam Kass
Sam Kass, the deputy White House chef and senior policy adviser for healthy foods initiative, said that the first lady and her party will meet with athletes at the U.S. Olympic training facility at the University of East London on Friday and host the “Let’s Move” event at the American ambassador’s residence the same day.

“We’ll have about a thousand kids, American and British kids, and an incredible lineup of athletes, of entertainers, including — even Sponge Bob [SquarePants] will be there,” Kass said, thanking Nickelodeon for helping sponsor the event.

Kass also said the London event will feature water as a beverage, “some healthy granola bars” and nuts. “Everywhere we go, we try to make sure we’re giving our kids healthy options,” he said.

Back home, in conjunction, with the start of the 2012 London games, the administration has declared Saturday “Let’s Move Olympic Fun Day.”

“On that day, kids and families across the country are going to come together to cheer on Team USA and participate in all kinds of athletic activities in their communities through meetup.com,” the first lady said.

Kass said 200 cities, towns and communities have signed up to host events giving kids opportunities to play and be active in the theme of the Olympics, and that the White House is encouraging more communities to participate.

“Communities are going to be doing all kinds of different events from hosting mini-Olympic events, little sporting events, getting together to cheer on the athlete,” Kass said.

“Every family can host their own little Olympic party and use it as a great opportunity to get outside, to go to a park, to do races, to do swimming, to do basketball, anything you can think of,” Kass said. “It doesn’t have to be formally in the meet-up frame, but the inspiration that the Olympics provides is what we’re really trying to use in every way imaginable.”