When Michelle Obama debuted in a public service announcement aired on Versus during the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition during All-Star Weekend, the National Hockey League and USA Hockey officially joined in the First Lady's highly visible and successful "Let's Move" campaign. In the spot, she urged kids, "Let's move. Let's skate, shoot and score."
In this instance, "scoring" translates to U.S. children becoming more active by moving 60 minutes per day. Mrs. Obama established the Let's Move campaign last February to battle America's childhood obesity epidemic. Let's Move aims to promote the idea of more active kids plus more active families, healthier schools, safe routes to school and affordable, accessible food.
The First Lady celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Let's Move program Wednesday with a speech at the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga. The NHL public service announcement, a groundbreaking project led by Ken Martin, the NHL's vice president of community relations, was part of Mrs. Obama's presentation and was part of the White House's official release about the anniversary.
"We're here to celebrate a new conversation in this country about the health and well-being of our children," the First Lady said in her speech. "It's a conversation about what our kids eat and how they move. It's about how they feel and how they feel about themselves."
The Let's Move campaign is focused on leading an active life.
"It's not just about exercising," said Robin Schepper, executive director of the Let's Move campaign. "It's about moving every way you can. We are talking to kids, parents, school administrators and government leaders about adding regular physical activity to your day. It can add up to 60 minutes."
The First Lady has been on the move herself. She has crisscrossed the country over the last year, recruiting the support of parents, school officials, nutritionists, food manufacturers, mayors, governors, doctors, chefs and, not least, kids. Along the way she has hula-hooped, run, jumped, gardened, stretched and much more.
Schepper talked to NHL.com last month during a break at the taping of the public service announcement. The First Lady was a high-energy, enthusiastic participant during the taping and was intent on getting just the right take.
The Let's Move campaign has developed a range of creative ideas on how kids can be more active, even during TV commercial breaks: Dancing, racing up and down the stairs, yoga moves, jumping jacks, jogging in place, push-ups, sit-ups and household chores. Other ideas for having fun with friends: Jumping rope, playing catch or racing a friend.
While being more active is central to the Let's Move initiative, eating more healthfully is equally vital to halting childhood obesity. She said Wednesday that kids can "soak up the good stuff" about healthy food and not just be persuaded by junk food advertisements.
"Like the little boy I met last November in Newark," she explained. "His teacher did a unit on healthy eating. And that afternoon, he went straight home and insisted that his mother bake, rather than fry, the fish she was cooking for dinner."
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday