The campaign against childhood obesity that has become Michelle Obama’s signature program will ramp up again this week as she begins a three-state tour focused on boosting physical activity and healthy eating.
The Let’s Move initiative, which Obama has made nearly ubiquitous, has served to elevate the issue of children’s health and fitness. As the program enters its third year, questions remain about whether the efforts the first lady has backed will be long-lasting.
Still, Obama plans to continue to energetically push and expand the initiative. Doing that means spotlighting places she sees as gaining ground, something the first lady intends to do Wednesday in Clinton, Miss., at the start of her Let’s Move tour.
Mississippi’s childhood obesity rate is down 13 percent to 38 percent. The state remains among the most obese in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but a new report shows that its rate of childhood obesity has dipped below that of California. Mississippi officials attribute the drop to a local focus on the issue, a 2007 law that mandated more physical education and a decision by the state school board to put more fruits, vegetables and whole grain on menus.